Fractal dimension analysis reveals skeletal muscle disorganization in mdx mice
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Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is characterized by muscle extracellular matrix disorganization due to the increased collagen deposition leading to fibrosis that significantly exacerbates disease progression. Fractal dimension analysis is a method that quantifies tissue/cellular disorganization and characterizes complex structures. The first objective of the present study was use fractal analysis to evaluate extracellular matrix disorganization in mdx mice soleus muscle. Next, we mimic a hyper-proliferation of fibrogenic cells by co-culturing NIH3T3 fibroblasts and C2C12 myoblasts to test whether fibroblasts induce disorganization in myoblast arrangement. Here, we show mdx presented high skeletal muscle disorganization as revealed by fractal analysis. Similarly, this method revealed that myoblasts co-cultured with fibroblast also presented cellular arrangement disorganization. We also reanalyzed skeletal muscle microarrays transcriptomic data from mdx and DMD patients that revealed transcripts related to extracellular matrix organization. This analysis also identified Osteoglycin, which was validated as a potential regulator of ECM organization in mdx dystrophic muscles. Our results demonstrate that fractal dimension is useful tool for the analysis of skeletal muscle disorganization in DMD and also reveal a fibroblast-myoblast cross-talk that contributes to “in vitro” myoblast disarrangement.
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