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Muscle and cardiac therapeutic strategies for Duchenne muscular dystrophy: past, present, and future

Journal title
Pharmacological reports : PR
Publication year
??oboda, A.; Dulak, J.

BACKGROUND: Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a severe X-linked neuromuscular childhood disorder that causes progressive muscle weakness and degeneration and results in functional decline, loss of ambulation and early death of young men due to cardiac or respiratory failure. Although the major cause of the disease has been known for many years-namely mutation in the DMD gene encoding dystrophin, one of the largest human genes-DMD is still incurable, and its treatment is challenging. METHODS: A comprehensive and systematic review of literature on the gene, cell, and pharmacological experimental therapies aimed at restoring functional dystrophin or to counteract the associated processes contributing to disease progression like inflammation, fibrosis, calcium signaling or angiogenesis was carried out. RESULTS: Although some therapies lead to satisfying effects in skeletal muscle, they are highly ineffective in the heart; therefore, targeting defective cardiac and respiratory systems is vital in DMD patients. Unfortunately, most of the pharmacological compounds treat only the symptoms of the disease. Some drugs addressing the underlying cause, like eteplirsen, golodirsen, and ataluren, have recently been conditionally approved; however, they can correct only specific mutations in the DMD gene and are therefore suitable for small sub-populations of affected individuals. CONCLUSION: In this review, we summarize the possible therapeutic options and describe the current status of various, still imperfect, strategies used for attenuating the disease progression.

Research abstracts