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J Med Genet. 2010 Dec;47(12):856-8. doi: 10.1136/jmg.2010.080366. Epub 2010 Sep 12.

Salbutamol increases survival motor neuron (SMN) transcript levels in leucocytes of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) patients: relevance for clinical trial design.

Author information

  • 1Istituto di Genetica Medica, Universit├á Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Largo Francesco Vito, 1 00168 Roma, Italy. fdtiziano@rm.unicatt.it

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a neuromuscular disorder caused by mutations of the SMN1 gene. Based on severity, three forms of SMA are recognised (types I-III). All patients usually have 2-4 copies of a highly homologous gene (SMN2) which produces insufficient levels of functional survival motor neuron (SMN) protein. Recently, evidence has been provided that SMN2 expression can be enhanced in vitro by salbutamol, a ╬▓2-adrenergic agonist. This compound has also been shown to improve motor function of SMA patients in two different pilot trials.

AIM:

To evaluate the in vivo molecular efficacy of salbutamol in SMA patients.

METHODS:

Twelve type II-III patients took salbutamol orally for 6 months. SMN2 full length transcript levels were determined in peripheral blood leucocytes by absolute real-time PCR, at baseline and after 3 and 6 months of treatment.

RESULTS:

A significant and constant increase in SMN2 full length transcript levels was detected; the response was directly proportional to SMN2 gene copy number.

CONCLUSIONS:

The data strongly support salbutamol as a candidate for treating SMA, and suggest that SMN2 copy number may predict the molecular response to treatment and may be a useful randomisation parameter in a double blind placebo controlled clinical trial design.

PMID:
20837492
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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