The anti-inflammatory agents glucocorticoids (GC) are the only available treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). However, long-term GC treatment causes muscle atrophy and wasting. Thus, targeting specific mediator of inflammatory response may be more specific, more efficacious, and with fewer side effects. The pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL) 6 is overproduced in patients with DMD and in the muscle of mdx, the animal model for human DMD. We tested the ability of inhibition of IL6 activity, using an interleukin-6 receptor (Il6r) neutralizing antibody, to ameliorate the dystrophic phenotype. Blockade of endogenous Il6r conferred on dystrophic muscle resistance to degeneration and alleviated both morphological and functional consequences of the primary genetic defect. Pharmacological inhibition of IL6 activity leaded to changes in the dystrophic muscle environment, favoring anti-inflammatory responses and improvement in muscle repair. This resulted in a functional homeostatic maintenance of dystrophic muscle. These data provide an alternative pharmacological strategy for treatment of DMD and circumvent the major problems associated with conventional therapy.
- Muscular dystrophy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)