Cell Biology

Stretch Relief

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Science  24 Aug 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6097, pp. 891
DOI: 10.1126/science.337.6097.891-c

The microtubule network links mechanical stretching in heart cells to intracellular signaling events mediated by changes in concentration of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and of intracellular free calcium ions. Khairallah et al. show that a similar signaling system may have a role in the malfunction of muscle cells in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). In a mouse model of DMD, muscle cells generated ROS and accumulated more intracellular calcium than did normal cells in response to stretching. These responses were dependent on microtubules. Mechanical stress caused damage to dystrophic mouse muscle, but treatment of mice in vivo with an inhibitor of ROS production or a microtubule depolymerizing drug protected muscle function, perhaps offering a strategy of therapeutic benefit in this deadly disease.

Sci. Signal. 5, ra56 (2012).

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