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Sci Rep. 2019 Aug 6;9(1):11392. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-47818-w.

Follistatin-based ligand trap ACE-083 induces localized hypertrophy of skeletal muscle with functional improvement in models of neuromuscular disease.

Author information

1
Acceleron Pharma, Cambridge, MA, USA. spearsall@xlrn.com.
2
Acceleron Pharma, Cambridge, MA, USA.
3
Division of Genetics and Genomics, The Manton Center for Orphan Disease Research, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
4
The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
5
NovaRock Biotherapeutics, Princeton, NJ, USA.
6
Dragonfly Therapeutics, Waltham, MA, USA.

Abstract

Skeletal muscle is under inhibitory homeostatic regulation by multiple ligands of the transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ) superfamily. Follistatin is a secreted protein that promotes muscle growth and function by sequestering these ligands extracellularly. In the present study, we evaluated the potential of ACE-083 - a locally acting, follistatin-based fusion protein - as a novel therapeutic agent for focal or asymmetric myopathies. Characterization of ACE-083 in vitro revealed its high affinity for heparin and extracellular matrix while surface plasmon resonance and cell-based assays confirmed that ACE-083 binds and potently neutralizes myostatin, activin A, activin B and growth differentiation factor 11 (GDF11). Intramuscular administration of ACE-083 caused localized, dose-dependent hypertrophy of the injected muscle in wild-type mice and mouse models of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) and Duchenne muscular dystrophy, with no evidence of systemic muscle effects or endocrine perturbation. Importantly, ACE-083 also increased the force of isometric contraction in situ by the injected tibialis anterior muscle in wild-type mice and disease models and increased ankle dorsiflexion torque in CMT mice. Our results demonstrate the potential of ACE-083 as a therapeutic agent for patients with CMT, muscular dystrophy and other disorders with focal or asymmetric muscle atrophy or weakness.

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