Pluripotent stem cell-induced skeletal muscle progenitor cells with givinostat promote myoangiogenesis and restore dystrophin in injured Duchenne dystrophic muscle

Wanling Xuan, Mahmood Khan, Muhammad Ashraf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is caused by mutations of the gene that encodes the protein dystrophin. A loss of dystrophin leads to severe and progressive muscle wasting in both skeletal and heart muscles. Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) and their derivatives offer important opportunities to treat a number of diseases. Here, we investigated whether givinostat (Givi), a histone deacetylase inhibitor, with muscle differentiation properties could reprogram hiPSCs into muscle progenitor cells (MPC) for DMD treatment. Methods: MPC were generated from hiPSCs by treatment with CHIR99021 and givinostat called Givi-MPC or with CHIR99021 and fibroblast growth factor as control-MPC. The proliferation and migration capacity were investigated by CCK-8, colony, and migration assays. Engraftment, pathological changes, and restoration of dystrophin were evaluated by in vivo transplantation of MPC. Conditioned medium from cultured MPC was collected and analyzed for extracellular vesicles (EVs). Results: Givi-MPC exhibited superior proliferation and migration capacity compared to control-MPC. Givi-MPC produced less reactive oxygen species (ROS) after oxidative stress and insignificant expression of IL6 after TNF-α stimulation. Upon transplantation in cardiotoxin (CTX)-injured hind limb of Mdx/SCID mice, the Givi-MPC showed robust engraftment and restored dystrophin in the treated muscle than in those treated with control-MPC or human myoblasts. Givi-MPC significantly limited infiltration of inflammatory cells and reduced muscle necrosis and fibrosis. Additionally, Givi-MPC seeded the stem cell pool in the treated muscle. Moreover, EVs released from Givi-MPC were enriched in several miRNAs related to myoangiogenesis including miR-181a, miR-17, miR-210 and miR-107, and miR-19b compared with EVs from human myoblasts. Conclusions: It is concluded that hiPSCs reprogrammed into MPC by givinostat possessing anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, and muscle gene-promoting properties effectively repaired injured muscle and restored dystrophin in the injured muscle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number131
JournalStem Cell Research and Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Angiogenesis
  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy
  • Givinostat
  • Histone deacetylase inhibitor
  • Human induced pluripotent stem cells
  • Muscle progenitor cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Cell Biology


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