Publications by authors named "Josef P Magyar"

6 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Effect of calpain and proteasome inhibition on Ca2+-dependent proteolysis and muscle histopathology in the mdx mouse.

FASEB J 2008 Dec 26;22(12):4190-200. Epub 2008 Aug 26.

Santhera Pharmaceuticals (Switzerland) Ltd, Hammerstrasse 47, CH-4410 Liestal, Switzerland.

Dystrophin deficiency is the underlying molecular cause of progressive muscle weakness observed in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Loss of functional dystrophin leads to elevated levels of intracellular Ca(2+), a key step in the cellular pathology of DMD. The cysteine protease calpain is activated in dystrophin-deficient muscle, and its inhibition is regarded as a potential therapeutic approach. In addition, previous work has shown that the ubiquitin-proteasome system also contributes to muscle protein breakdown in dystrophic muscle and, therefore, also qualifies as a potential target for therapeutic intervention in DMD. The relative contribution of calpain- and proteasome-mediated proteolysis induced by increased Ca(2+) levels was characterized in cultured muscle cells and revealed initial Ca(2+) influx-dependent calpain activity and subsequent Ca(2+)-independent activity of the ubiquitin-proteasome system. We then set out to optimize novel small-molecule inhibitors that inhibit both calpain as well as the 20S proteasome in a cellular system with impaired Ca(2+) homeostasis. On administration of such inhibitors to mdx mice, quantitative histological parameters improved significantly, in particular with compounds strongly inhibiting the 20S proteasome. To investigate the role of calpain inhibition without interfering with the ubiquitin-proteasome system, we crossed mdx mice with transgenic mice, overexpressing the endogenous calpain inhibitor calpastatin. Although our data show that proteolysis by calpain is strongly inhibited in the transgenic mdx mouse, this calpain inhibition did not ameliorate muscle histology. Our results indicate that inhibition of the proteasome rather than calpain is required for histological improvement of dystrophin-deficient muscle. In conclusion, we have identified novel proteasome inhibitors that qualify as potential candidates for pharmacological intervention in muscular dystrophy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1096/fj.07-099036DOI Listing
December 2008

Muscle-wide secretion of a miniaturized form of neural agrin rescues focal neuromuscular innervation in agrin mutant mice.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2008 Aug 6;105(32):11406-11. Epub 2008 Aug 6.

Biozentrum and Institute of Physiology, Department of Biomedicine, University of Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 70, 4056 Basel, Switzerland.

Agrin and its receptor MuSK are required for the formation of the postsynaptic apparatus at the neuromuscular junction (NMJ). In the current model the local deposition of agrin by the nerve and the resulting local activation of MuSK are responsible for creating and maintaining the postsynaptic apparatus including clusters of acetylcholine receptors (AChRs). Concomitantly, the release of acetylcholine (ACh) and the resulting depolarization disperses those postsynaptic structures that are not apposed by the nerve and thus not stabilized by agrin-MuSK signaling. Here we show that a miniaturized form of agrin, consisting of the laminin-binding and MuSK-activating domains, is sufficient to fully restore NMJs in agrin mutant mice when expressed by developing muscle. Although miniagrin is expressed uniformly throughout muscle fibers and induces ectopic AChR clusters, the size and the number of those AChR clusters contacted by the motor nerve increase during development. We provide experimental evidence that this is due to ACh, because the AChR agonist carbachol stabilizes AChR clusters in organotypic cultures of embryonic diaphragms. In summary, our results show that agrin function in NMJ development requires only two small domains, and that this function does not depend on the local deposition of agrin at synapses. Finally, they suggest a novel local function of ACh in stabilizing postsynaptic structures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0801683105DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2497462PMC
August 2008

Novel cell-penetrating alpha-keto-amide calpain inhibitors as potential treatment for muscular dystrophy.

Bioorg Med Chem Lett 2005 Dec 26;15(23):5176-81. Epub 2005 Sep 26.

Medicinal Chemistry Department, Santhera Pharmaceuticals, Hammerstrasse 25, CH-4410 Liestal, Switzerland.

Dipeptide-derived alpha-keto-amide compounds with potent calpain inhibitory activity have been identified. These reversible covalent inhibitors have IC(50) values down to 25nM and exhibit greatly improved activity in muscle cells compared to the reference compound MDL28170. Several novel calpain inhibitors have shown positive effects on histological parameters in an animal model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy demonstrating their potential as a treatment option for this fatal disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bmcl.2005.08.064DOI Listing
December 2005

A multidisciplinary evaluation of the effectiveness of cyclosporine a in dystrophic mdx mice.

Am J Pathol 2005 Feb;166(2):477-89

Sezione di Farmacologia, Dipartimento Farmacobiologico, Facoltà di Farmacia, Università degli Studi di Bari, Via Orabona 4, Campus, 70125 Bari, Italy.

Chronic inflammation is a secondary reaction of Duchenne muscular dystrophy and may contribute to disease progression. To examine whether immunosuppressant therapies could benefit dystrophic patients, we analyzed the effects of cyclosporine A (CsA) on a dystrophic mouse model. Mdx mice were treated with 10 mg/kg of CsA for 4 to 8 weeks throughout a period of exercise on treadmill, a protocol that worsens the dystrophic condition. The CsA treatment fully prevented the 60% drop of forelimb strength induced by exercise. A significant amelioration (P < 0.05) was observed in histological profile of CsA-treated gastrocnemius muscle with reductions of nonmuscle area (20%), centronucleated fibers (12%), and degenerating area (50%) compared to untreated exercised mdx mice. Consequently, the percentage of normal fibers increased from 26 to 35% in CsA-treated mice. Decreases in creatine kinase and markers of fibrosis were also observed. By electrophysiological recordings ex vivo, we found that CsA counteracted the decrease in chloride conductance (gCl), a functional index of degeneration in diaphragm and extensor digitorum longus muscle fibers. However, electrophysiology and fura-2 calcium imaging did not show any amelioration of calcium homeostasis in extensor digitorum longus muscle fibers. No significant effect was observed on utrophin levels in diaphragm muscle. Our data show that the CsA treatment significantly normalized many functional, histological, and biochemical endpoints by acting on events that are independent or downstream of calcium homeostasis. The beneficial effect of CsA may involve different targets, reinforcing the usefulness of immunosuppressant drugs in muscular dystrophy.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1602333PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0002-9440(10)62270-5DOI Listing
February 2005

Histological parameters for the quantitative assessment of muscular dystrophy in the mdx-mouse.

Neuromuscul Disord 2004 Oct;14(10):675-82

MyoContract Ltd, Hammerstrasse 25, CH-4410 Liestal, Switzerland.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a severe X-linked hereditary disease caused by the absence of functional dystrophin. The dystrophin-deficient mdx-mouse strain is a widely used animal model for dystrophin-deficiency. Several therapeutic approaches for muscular dystrophy have been proposed by different laboratories. In order to compare the efficacy of these therapies in the mdx-mouse, it is essential to implement standardized protocols for the assessment of functional and histological parameters in this mouse model. Here, we determine that the minimal 'Feret's diameter' is a geometrical parameter that allows for reliable measure of muscle fiber cross-sectional size. Using this geometrical parameter we calculate variance coefficients of the muscle fiber size and provide reference values for the quantitative assessment of dystrophic symptoms in frequently investigated muscles of wild-type and mdx-mouse. In addition, we compare the variance coefficients of the muscle fiber size with the percentage of muscle fibers with centralized nuclei; another histological hallmark of muscular dystrophy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nmd.2004.06.008DOI Listing
October 2004

Reactivation of the mitosis-promoting factor in postmitotic cardiomyocytes.

Cells Tissues Organs 2003 ;175(2):61-71

Institute of Cell Biology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zürich, Switzerland.

Cardiomyocytes cease to divide shortly after birth and an irreversible cell cycle arrest is evident accompanied by the downregulation of cyclin-dependent kinase activities. To get a better understanding of the cardiac cell cycle and its regulation, the effect of functional recovery of the mitosis-promoting factor (MPF) consisting of cyclin B1 and the cyclin-dependent kinase Cdc2 was assessed in primary cultures of postmitotic ventricular adult rat cardiomyocytes (ARC). Gene transfer into ARC was achieved using the adenovirus-enhanced transferrinfection system that was characterized by the absence of cytotoxic events. Simultaneous ectopic expression of wild-type versions of cyclin B1 and Cdc2 was sufficient to induce MPF activity. Reestablished MPF resulted in a mitotic phenotype, marked by an abnormal condensation of the nuclei, histone H3 phosphorylation and variable degree of decay of the contractile apparatus. Although a complete cell division was not observed, the results provided conclusive evidence that cell cycle-related events in postmitotic cardiomyocytes could be triggered by genetic intervention downstream of the G1/S checkpoint. This will be of importance to design novel strategies to overcome the proliferation arrest in adult cardiomyocytes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000073750DOI Listing
July 2004