Human iPSC Models to Study Orphan Diseases: Muscular Dystrophies

Guangbin Xia, Naohiro Terada, Tetsuo Ashizawa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: Muscular dystrophies (MDs) are a spectrum of muscle disorders, which are caused by a number of gene mutations. The studies of MDs are limited due to lack of appropriate models, except for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1), facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), and certain type of limb-girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD). Human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technologies are emerging to offer a useful model for mechanistic studies, drug discovery, and cell-based therapy to supplement in vivo animal models. This review will focus on current applications of iPSC as disease models of MDs for studies of pathogenic mechanisms and therapeutic development. Recent Findings: Many and more human disease-specific iPSCs have been or being established, which carry the natural mutation of MDs with human genomic background. These iPSCs can be differentiated into specific cell types affected in a particular MDs such as skeletal muscle progenitor cells, skeletal muscle fibers, and cardiomyocytes. Human iPSCs are particularly useful for studies of the pathogenicity at the early stage or developmental phase of MDs. High-throughput screening using disease-specific human iPSCs has become a powerful technology in drug discovery. While MD iPSCs have been generated for cell-based replacement therapy, recent advances in genome editing technologies enabled correction of genetic mutations in these cells in culture, raising hope for in vivo genome therapy, which offers a fundamental cure for these daunting inherited MDs. Summary: Human disease-specific iPSC models for MDs are emerging as an additional tool to current disease models for elucidating disease mechanisms and developing therapeutic intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-309
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Stem Cell Reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • Cell-based therapy
  • Genome editing
  • Induced pluripotent stem cells
  • Model
  • Muscular dystrophy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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