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Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a severe muscle-wasting disease caused by frameshift or nonsense mutations in the DMD gene, resulting in the loss of dystrophin from muscle membranes. Exon skipping using splice-switching oligonucleotides (SSOs) restores the reading frame of DMD pre-mRNA by generating internally truncated but functional dystrophin protein. To potentiate effective tissue-specific targeting by functional SSOs, it is essential to perform accelerated and reliable in vitro screening-based assessment of novel oligonucleotides and drug delivery technologies, such as cell-penetrating peptides, before their in vivo pharmacokinetic and toxicity evaluation. We have established novel canine immortalized myoblast lines by transducing murine cyclin-dependent kinase-4 and human telomerase reverse transcriptase genes into myoblasts isolated from beagle-based wild-type or canine X-linked muscular dystrophy in Japan (CXMDJ) dogs. These myoblast lines exhibited improved myogenic differentiation and increased proliferation rates compared with passage-15 primary parental myoblasts, and their potential to differentiate into myotubes was maintained in later passages. Using these dystrophin-deficient immortalized myoblast lines, we demonstrate that a novel cell-penetrating peptide (Pip8b2)-conjugated SSO markedly improved multiexon skipping activity compared with the respective naked phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomers. In vitro screening using immortalized canine cell lines will provide a basis for further pharmacological studies on drug delivery tools.

Original publication




Journal article


Nucleic Acid Ther

Publication Date



Duchenne muscular dystrophy, canine X-linked muscular dystrophy in Japan (CXMDJ), cell-penetrating peptide, immortalized dystrophic canine myoblast, phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomer, splice-switching oligonucleotides