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Mol Med. 2011 May-Jun;17(5-6):508-15. doi: 10.2119/molmed.2010.00263. Epub 2011 Jan 20.

Peptide-based inhibition of NF-κB rescues diaphragm muscle contractile dysfunction in a murine model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

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Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology, and Medical Genetics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA.


Deterioration of diaphragm function is one of the prominent factors that contributes to the susceptibility of serious respiratory infections and development of respiratory failure in patients with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). The NF-κB signaling pathway has been implicated as a contributing factor of dystrophic pathology, making it a potential therapeutic target. Previously, we demonstrated that pharmacological inhibition of NF-κB via a small NEMO Binding Domain (NBD) peptide was beneficial for reducing pathological features of mdx mice. Now, we stringently test the effectiveness and clinical potential of NBD by treating mdx mice with various formulations of NBD and use diaphragm function as our primary outcome criteria. We found that administering DMSO-soluble NBD rescued 78% of the contractile deficit between mdx and wild-type (WT) diaphragm. Interestingly, synthesis of a GLP NBD peptide as an acetate salt permitted its solubility in water, but as a negative consequence, also greatly attenuated functional efficacy. However, replacing the acetic acid counterion of the NBD peptide with trifluoroacetic acid retained the peptide's water solubility and significantly restored mdx diaphragm contractile function and improved histopathological indices of disease in both diaphragm and limb muscle. Together, these results support the feasibility of using a mass-produced, water-soluble NBD peptide for clinical use.

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