Melissa Jan Spencer

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Dystrophin-deficient muscles experience large reductions in expression of nitric oxide synthase (NOS), which suggests that NO deficiency may influence the dystrophic pathology. Because NO can function as an antiinflammatory and cytoprotective molecule, we propose that the loss of NOS from dystrophic muscle exacerbates muscle inflammation and fiber damage by(More)
The cysteine protease calpain 3 (CAPN3) is essential for normal muscle function, since mutations in CAPN3 cause limb girdle muscular dystrophy type 2A. Previously, we showed that myoblasts isolated from CAPN3 knockout (C3KO) mice were able to fuse to myotubes; however, sarcomere formation was disrupted. In this study we further characterized morphological(More)
The hypothesis that changes in muscle activation and loading regulate the expression and activity of neuronal nitric oxide (NO) synthase (nNOS) was tested using in vitro and in vivo approaches. Removal of weight bearing from rat hindlimb muscles for 10 days resulted in a significant decrease in nNOS protein and mRNA concentration in soleus muscles, which(More)
Many features of dystrophin-deficient muscle pathology are not clearly related to the loss of mechanical support of the muscle membrane by dystrophin. In the present review, evidence that supports a role for the immune system in promoting the pathology of dystrophinopathy is presented. The findings summarized here indicate that specific, cellular immune(More)
We have previously demonstrated a role for T cells in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) using the mdx mouse and have shown that T cell killing of dystrophic muscle can occur through perforin-dependent and perforin-independent mechanisms. In this investigation, we explore the possibility that one perforin-independent mechanism utilized by the T cells is(More)
Dysbindin was identified as a dystrobrevin-binding protein potentially involved in the pathogenesis of muscular dystrophy. Subsequently, genetic studies have implicated variants of the human dysbindin-encoding gene, DTNBP1, in the pathogeneses of Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome and schizophrenia. The protein is a stable component of a multisubunit complex termed(More)
The slow-channel myasthenic syndrome (SCS) is a hereditary disorder of the acetylcholine receptor (AChR) of the neuromuscular junction (NMJ) that leads to prolonged AChR channel opening, Ca(2+) overload, and degeneration of the NMJ. We used an SCS transgenic mouse model to investigate the role of the calcium-activated protease calpain in the pathogenesis of(More)
We examined the interdependence of calpain and protein kinase C (PKC) activities on neurite outgrowth in SH-SY-5Y human neuroblastoma cells. SH-SY-5Y cells elaborated neurites when deprived of serum or after a specific thrombin inhibitor, hirudin, was added to serum-containing medium. The extent of neurite outgrowth under these conditions was enhanced by(More)
PURPOSE OF REVIEW Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a progressive muscle degenerative disease caused by dystrophin mutations. The purpose of this review is to highlight two emerging therapies designed to repair the primary genetic defect, called 'exon skipping' and 'nonsense codon suppression'. RECENT FINDINGS A drug, PTC124, was identified that suppresses(More)
Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD) 2H is a slowly progressive condition characterized by proximal weakness, atrophy, and mildly to moderately raised levels of creatine kinase. Facial weakness, scapular winging, hypertrophied calves, and Achilles tendon contractions are not uncommon and the age of onset ranges between the first and fourth decade. LGMD2H(More)