Patients with myotonic dystrophy, a possible segmental progeroid syndrome, and Duchenne muscular dystrophy have fibroblasts with normal limits for in vitro lifespan and growth characteristics.
Myotonic dystrophy (MyD) has been suggested to be a segmental progeroid syndrome in man, as this syndrome has some clinical manifestations of premature aging. Fibroblasts from patients with other progeroid syndromes have been shown to have diminished in vitro lifespans or growth characteristics; therefore, it was of interest to study cellular senescence in fibroblasts from patients with MyD. Fibroblast cultures from patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) were used as additional controls, as premature aging is not associated with this genetic disorder. Primary skin fibroblast cultures obtained from patients with MyD or DMD and from age-sex matched controls were grown in DMEM plus 10% FBS. The in vitro lifespan was determined by either a 1:4 split ratio or with a constant initial inoculum of 1 times 10(4) cells/cm2, followed by determination of the final density at weekly intervals. Our results demonstrate that there is no difference in the limits of the in vitro lifespan for either the MyD or DMD fibroblast strains compared to the controls. Likewise, no difference could be detected in the growth characteristics of these cells. The only observable difference was that the pooled age-matched controls and MyD cultures had a shorter in vitro lifespan than the DMD group and their pooled controls, a finding expected because of the age of the patients in each group. Unlike the other progeroid syndromes, MyD fibroblasts have normal limits for in vitro lifespan. MyD is probably not closely related to the other premature aging syndromes, although there is an increasing phenotypic expression as a function of age.
Wertz, RL; Hartwig, GB; Frost, AP; Brophy, JJ; Atwater, SK; Roses, AD
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