Female carriers of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) presenting with DMD symptomology similar to males with DMD, such as skeletal muscle weakness and cardiomyopathy, are termed manifesting carriers. There is phenotypic variability among manifesting carriers including the age of onset, which can range from the first to fourth decade of life. In females, estrogen levels typically begin to decline during the fourth decade of life and estrogen deficiency contributes to loss of muscle strength and recovery of strength following injury. Thus, we questioned whether the decline of estrogen impacts the development of DMD symptoms in females. To address this question, we studied 6-8 month-old homozygous mdx female mice randomly assigned to a sham or ovariectomy (OVX) surgical group. In vivo wholebody plethysmography assessed ventilatory function and diaphragm muscle strength was measured in vitro before and after fatigue. Anterior crural muscles were analyzed in vivo for contractile function, fatigue, and in response to eccentric contraction (ECC)-induced injury. For the latter, 50 maximal ECCs were performed by the anterior crural muscles to induce injury. Body mass, uterine mass, hypoxia-hypercapnia ventilatory response, and fatigue index were analyzed by a pooled unpaired t-test. A two-way ANOVA was used to analyze ventilatory measurements. Fatigue and ECC-injury recovery experiments were analyzed by a two-way repeated-measures ANOVA. Results show no differences between sham and OVX mdx mice in ventilatory function, strength, or recovery of strength after fatigue in the diaphragm muscle or anterior crural muscles (p ≥ 0.078). However, OVX mice had significantly greater eccentric torque loss and blunted recovery of strength after ECC-induced injury compared to sham mice (p ≤ 0.019). Although the results show that loss of estrogen has minimal impact on skeletal muscle contractile function in female mdx mice, a key finding suggests that estrogen is important in muscle recovery in female mdx mice after injury.
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© 2021 Vang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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