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Am J Pathol. 2010 May;176(5):2425-34. doi: 10.2353/ajpath.2010.090932. Epub 2010 Apr 2.

Antibody-directed myostatin inhibition improves diaphragm pathology in young but not adult dystrophic mdx mice.

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Basic and Clinical Myology Laboratory, Department of Physiology, The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is characterized by progressive skeletal muscle wasting and weakness, leading to premature death from respiratory and/or cardiac failure. A clinically relevant question is whether myostatin inhibition can improve function of the diaphragm, which exhibits a severe and progressive pathology comparable with that in DMD. We hypothesized that antibody-directed myostatin inhibition would improve the pathophysiology of diaphragm muscle strips from young mdx mice (when the pathology is mild) and adult mdx mice (when the pathology is quite marked). Five weeks treatment with a mouse chimera of anti-human myostatin antibody (PF-354, 10 mg/kg/week) increased muscle mass (P < 0.05) and increased diaphragm median fiber cross-sectional area (CSA, P < 0.05) in young C57BL/10 and mdx mice, compared with saline-treated controls. PF-354 had no effect on specific force (sPo, maximum force normalized to muscle CSA) of diaphragm muscle strips from young C57BL/10 mice, but increased sPo by 84% (P < 0.05) in young mdx mice. In contrast, 8 weeks of PF-354 treatment did not improve muscle mass, median fiber CSA, collagen infiltration, or sPo of diaphragm muscle strips from adult mdx mice. PF-354 antibody-directed myostatin inhibition completely restored the functional capacity of diaphragm strips to control levels when treatment was initiated early, but not in the later stages of disease progression, suggesting that such therapies may only have a limited window of efficacy for DMD and related conditions.

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