Eosinophils Do Not Drive Acute Muscle Pathology in the mdx Mouse Model of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.


Laboratory of Allergic Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892; [Email]


Eosinophils are present in muscle lesions associated with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and dystrophin-deficient mdx mice that phenocopy this disorder. Although it has been hypothesized that eosinophils promote characteristic inflammatory muscle damage, this has not been fully examined. In this study, we generated mice with the dystrophin mutation introduced into PHIL, a strain with a transgene that directs lineage-specific eosinophil ablation. We also explored the impact of eosinophil overabundance on dystrophinopathy by introducing the dystrophin mutation into IL-5 transgenic mice. We evaluated the degree of eosinophil infiltration in association with myofiber size distribution, centralized nuclei, serum creatine kinase, and quantitative histopathology scores. Among our findings, eosinophils were prominent in the quadriceps muscles of 4-wk-old male mdx mice but no profound differences were observed in the quantitative measures of muscle damage when comparing mdx versus mdx.PHIL versus mdx.IL5tg mice, despite dramatic differences in eosinophil infiltration (CD45+CD11c-Gr1-MHC class IIloSiglecF+ eosinophils at 1.2 ± 0.34% versus <0.1% versus 20 ± 7.6% of total cells, respectively). Further evaluation revealed elevated levels of eosinophil chemoatttractants eotaxin-1 and RANTES in the muscle tissue of all three dystrophin-deficient strains; eotaxin-1 concentration in muscle correlated inversely with age. Cytokines IL-4 and IL-1R antagonist were also detected in association with eosinophils in muscle. Taken together, our findings challenge the long-held perception of eosinophils as cytotoxic in dystrophin-deficient muscle; we show clearly that eosinophil infiltration is not a driving force behind acute muscle damage in the mdx mouse strain. Ongoing studies will focus on the functional properties of eosinophils in this unique microenvironment.

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