Therapeutic potential of proteasome inhibition in Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophies

Elisabetta Gazzerro, Stefania Assereto, Andrea Bonetto, Federica Sotgia, Sonia Scarfi, Angela Pistorio, Gloria Bonuccelli, Michele Cilli, Claudio Bruno, Federico Zara, Michael P. Lisanti, Carlo Minetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and its milder allelic variant, Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD), result from mutations of the dystrophin gene and lead to progressive muscle deterioration. Enhanced activation of proteasomal degradation underlies critical steps in the pathogenesis of the DMD/BMD dystrophic process. Previously, we demonstrated that treatment with the proteasome inhibitor MG-132 rescues the cell membrane localization of dystrophin and the dystrophin glycoprotein complex in mdx mice, a natural genetic mouse model of DMD. The current work aims to thoroughly define the therapeutic potential in dystrophinopathies of Velcade, a drug that selectively blocks the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. Velcade is particularly intriguing since it has been approved for the treatment of multiple myeloma. Therefore, its side effects in humans have been explored. Velcade effects were analyzed through two independent methodological approaches. First, we administered the drug systemically in mdx mice over a 2-week period. In this system, Velcade restores the membrane expression of dystrophin and dystrophin glycoprotein complex members and improves the dystrophic phenotype. In a second approach, we treated with the compound explants from muscle biopsies of DMD or BMD patients. We show that the inhibition of the proteasome pathway up-regulates dystrophin , α-sarcoglycan , and β-dystroglycan protein levels in explants from BMD patients , whereas it increases the proteins of the dystrophin glycoprotein complex in DMD cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1863-1877
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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