Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is an X-linked recessive genetic disorder caused by out of frame mutations in the dystrophin gene. The hallmark symptoms of the condition include progressive degeneration of skeletal muscle, cardiomyopathy, and respiratory dysfunction. The most recent advances in therapeutic strategies for the treatment of DMD involve exon skipping or administration of minidystrophin, but these strategies are not yet universally available, nor have they proven to be a definitive cure for all DMD patients. Early diagnosis and tracking of symptom progression of DMD usually relies on creatine kinase tests, evaluation of patient performance in various ambulatory assessments, and detection of dystrophin from muscle biopsies, which are invasive and painful for the patient. While the current research focuses primarily on restoring functional dystrophin, accurate and minimally invasive methods to detect and track both symptom progression and the success of early DMD treatments are not yet available. In recent years, several groups have identified miRNA signature changes in DMD tissue samples, and a number of promising studies consistently detected changes in circulating miRNAs in blood samples of DMD patients. These results could potentially lead to non-invasive detection methods, new molecular approaches to treating DMD symptoms, and new methods to monitor of the efficacy of the therapy. In this review, we focus on the role of circulating miRNAs in DMD and highlight their potential both as a biomarker in the early detection of disease and as a therapeutic target in the prevention and treatment of DMD symptoms.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited