Enrique Brandan's Laboratory




Our laboratory works to understand the molecular mechanisms that regulate skeletal muscle formation and how they are affected in skeletal muscular dystrophies. Located at the Center for Aging and Regeneration (CARE), Faculty of Biological Sciences, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, the lab has conducted extensive studies to understand the role of extracellular matrix (ECM) in skeletal muscle formation and regeneration, and in the comprehension of the fibrotic phenomena associated to skeletal muscular dystrophies.


1.    Extracellular matrix, differentiation, and fibrosis.


We are interested in understanding how ECM regulates skeletal muscle differentiation. This is controlled by a complex set of interactions between myoblasts and their environment. The presence of the ECM is essential for normal myogenesis. Alterations of the interaction of ECM with cellular receptors inhibit myogenesis. On the other hand, interactions of ECM with fibroblasts affect the expression of fibrotic growth factor (CTGF/CCN2).


2.    Understanding the mechanisms involved in fibrosis associated with skeletal muscular diseases.


Fibrosis corresponds to an increase in ECM constituents, which occurs in skeletal muscular dystrophies such as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), denervation, or loss of motor neuron activity (ALS). We are interested in understanding the role of; pro-fibrotic factors (TGF-beta, CTGF/CCN2); different components of the renin-angiotensin-system (RAS), hypoxia; LPA, and plant extract (andrographolide) with strong anti-inflammatory properties, in the genesis of skeletal muscle fibrosis. Also, we are interested in understanding the cell type responsible for the fibrotic response in the different models.