Sonic hedgehog gene therapy increases the ability of the dystrophic skeletal muscle to regenerate after injury

Eleonora Gaetani, Roberto Pola, Raffaele Landolfi, R. C. Smith, M. Silver, S. Straino, M. Capogrossi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The Hedgehog (Hh) pathway is a crucial regulator of muscle development during embryogenesis. We have previously demonstrated that Sonic hedgehog (Shh) regulates postnatal myogenesis in the adult skeletal muscle both directly, by acting on muscle satellite cells, and indirectly, by promoting the production of growth factors from interstitial fibroblasts. Here, we show that in mdx mice, the murine equivalent of Duchenne muscular dystrophy in humans, progression of the dystrophic pathology corresponds to progressive inhibition of the Hh signaling pathway in the skeletal muscle. We also show that the upregulation of the Hh pathway in response to injury and during regeneration is significantly impaired in mdx muscle. Shh treatment increases the proliferative potential of satellite cells isolated from the muscles of mdx mice. This treatment also increases the production of proregenerative factors, such as insulin-like growth factor-1 and vascular endothelial growth factor, from fibroblasts isolated from the muscle of mdx mice. In vivo, overexpression of the Hh pathway using a plasmid encoding the human Shh gene promotes successful regeneration after injury in terms of increased number of proliferating myogenic cells and newly formed myofibers, as well as enhanced vascularization and decreased fibrosis.Gene Therapy advance online publication, 27 February 2014; doi:10.1038/gt.2014.13.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-421
Number of pages9
JournalGene Therapy
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Sonic
  • dystrophic
  • hedgehog
  • skeletal


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