Publications by authors named "Patrizia Barzaghi"

8 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Omigapil ameliorates the pathology of muscle dystrophy caused by laminin-alpha2 deficiency.

J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2009 Dec 16;331(3):787-95. Epub 2009 Sep 16.

Santhera Pharmaceuticals, Liestal, Switzerland.

Laminin alpha2-deficient congenital muscular dystrophy, called MDC1A, is a rare, devastating genetic disease characterized by severe neonatal hypotonia ("floppy infant syndrome"), peripheral neuropathy, inability to stand or walk, respiratory distress, and premature death in early life. Transgenic overexpression of the apoptosis inhibitor protein BCL-2, or deletion of the proapoptotic Bax gene in a mouse model for MDC1A prolongs survival and mitigates pathology, indicating that apoptotic events are involved in the pathology. Here we demonstrate that the proapoptotic glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH)-Siah1-CBP/p300-p53 pathway is activated in a mouse model for MDC1A. Moreover, we show that omigapil, which inhibits GAPDH-Siah1-mediated apoptosis, ameliorates several pathological hallmarks in the MDC1A mouse model. Specifically, we demonstrate that treatment with omigapil inhibits apoptosis in muscle, reduces body weight loss and skeletal deformation, increases locomotive activity, and protects from early mortality. These data qualify omigapil, which is in late phase of clinical development for human use, as a drug candidate for the treatment of MDC1A.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1124/jpet.109.160754DOI Listing
December 2009

Long-term blinded placebo-controlled study of SNT-MC17/idebenone in the dystrophin deficient mdx mouse: cardiac protection and improved exercise performance.

Eur Heart J 2009 Jan 10;30(1):116-24. Epub 2008 Sep 10.

Department of Pediatric Neurology, University Hospitals Leuven, Herestraat, Leuven, Belgium.

Aims: Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a severe and still incurable disease, with heart failure as a leading cause of death. The identification of a disease-modifying therapy may require early-initiated and long-term administration, but such type of therapeutic trial is not evident in humans. We have performed such a trial of SNT-MC17/idebenone in the mdx mouse model of DMD, based on the drug's potential to improve mitochondrial respiratory chain function and reduce oxidative stress.

Methods And Results: In this study, 200 mg/kg bodyweight of either SNT-MC17/idebenone or placebo was given from age 4 weeks until 10 months in mdx and wild-type mice. All evaluators were blinded to mouse type and treatment groups. Idebenone treatment significantly corrected cardiac diastolic dysfunction and prevented mortality from cardiac pump failure induced by dobutamine stress testing in vivo, significantly reduced cardiac inflammation and fibrosis, and significantly improved voluntary running performance in mdx mice.

Conclusion: We have identified a novel potential therapeutic strategy for human DMD, as SNT-MC17/idebenone was cardioprotective and improved exercise performance in the dystrophin-deficient mdx mouse. Our data also illustrate that the mdx mouse provides unique opportunities for long-term controlled prehuman therapeutic studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehn406DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2639086PMC
January 2009

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

Linker molecules between laminins and dystroglycan ameliorate laminin-alpha2-deficient muscular dystrophy at all disease stages.

J Cell Biol 2007 Mar;176(7):979-93

Biozentrum, University of Basel, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland.

Mutations in laminin-alpha2 cause a severe congenital muscular dystrophy, called MDC1A. The two main receptors that interact with laminin-alpha2 are dystroglycan and alpha7beta1 integrin. We have previously shown in mouse models for MDC1A that muscle-specific overexpression of a miniaturized form of agrin (mini-agrin), which binds to dystroglycan but not to alpha7beta1 integrin, substantially ameliorates the disease (Moll, J., P. Barzaghi, S. Lin, G. Bezakova, H. Lochmuller, E. Engvall, U. Muller, and M.A. Ruegg. 2001. Nature. 413:302-307; Bentzinger, C.F., P. Barzaghi, S. Lin, and M.A. Ruegg. 2005. Matrix Biol. 24:326-332.). Now we show that late-onset expression of mini-agrin still prolongs life span and improves overall health, although not to the same extent as early expression. Furthermore, a chimeric protein containing the dystroglycan-binding domain of perlecan has the same activities as mini-agrin in ameliorating the disease. Finally, expression of full-length agrin also slows down the disease. These experiments are conceptual proof that linking the basement membrane to dystroglycan by specifically designed molecules or by endogenous ligands, could be a means to counteract MDC1A at a progressed stage of the disease, and thus opens new possibilities for the development of treatment options for this muscular dystrophy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1083/jcb.200611152DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2064083PMC
March 2007

Conjugation of LG domains of agrins and perlecan to polymerizing laminin-2 promotes acetylcholine receptor clustering.

J Biol Chem 2005 Dec 11;280(50):41449-57. Epub 2005 Oct 11.

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854, USA.

Neuromuscular junction (NMJ) assembly is characterized by the clustering and neuronal alignment of acetylcholine receptors (AChRs). In this study we have addressed post-synaptic contributions to assembly that may arise from the NMJ basement membrane with cultured myotubes. We show that the cell surface-binding LG domains of non-neural (muscle) agrin and perlecan promote AChR clustering in the presence of laminin-2. This type of AChR clustering occurs with a several hour lag, requires muscle-specific kinase (MuSK), and is accompanied by tyrosine phosphorylation of MuSK and betaAChR. It also requires conjugation of the agrin or perlecan to laminin together with laminin polymerization. Furthermore, AChR clustering can be mimicked with antibody binding to non-neural agrin, supporting a mechanism of ligand aggregation. Neural agrin, in addition to its unique ability to cluster AChRs through its B/z sequence insert, also exhibits laminin-dependent AChR clustering, the latter enhancing and stabilizing its activity. Finally, we show that type IV collagen, which lacks clustering activity on its own, stabilizes laminin-dependent AChR clusters. These findings provide evidence for cooperative and partially redundant MuSK-dependent functions of basement membrane in AChR assembly that can enhance neural agrin activity yet operate in its absence. Such interactions may contribute to the assembly of aneural AChR clusters that precede neural agrin release as well as affect later NMJ development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M508939200DOI Listing
December 2005

Overexpression of mini-agrin in skeletal muscle increases muscle integrity and regenerative capacity in laminin-alpha2-deficient mice.

FASEB J 2005 Jun;19(8):934-42

Biozentrum, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Mutations in the gene encoding the alpha2 subunit of laminins cause the severe "merosin-deficient congenital muscular dystrophy" (MDC1A). We have recently shown that overexpression of a miniaturized form of the molecule agrin (mini-agrin) counteracts the disease in dy(W)/dy(W) mice, a model for MDC1A. However, these mice express some residual truncated laminin-alpha2, suggesting that the observed amelioration might be due to mini-agrin's presenting the residual laminin-alpha2 to its receptors. Here we show that the mini-agrin counteracts the disease in dy(3K)/dy(3K) mice, which are null for laminin-alpha2. As in dy(W)/dy(W) mice, mini-agrin improves both the function and structure of muscle. We show that muscle regeneration after injury is severely impaired in dy(3K)/dy(3K) mice but is restored in the mini-agrin-expressing littermates. In summary, our results 1) show that the direct linkage of muscle basal lamina with the sarcolemma is the basis of mini-agrin-mediated amelioration and 2) provide unprecedented evidence that this linkage is important for proper regeneration of muscle fibers after injury. Our findings thus suggest that treatment with mini-agrin might be beneficial over the entire spectrum of the MDC1A disease, whose severity inversely correlates with expression levels and the size of the truncation in laminin-alpha2.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1096/fj.04-3376comDOI Listing
June 2005

Inhibition of synapse assembly in mammalian muscle in vivo by RNA interference.

EMBO Rep 2004 Feb 16;5(2):183-8. Epub 2004 Jan 16.

Biozentrum, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

The formation of the vertebrate neuromuscular junction (NMJ) requires the receptor tyrosine kinase MuSK and the adaptor molecule rapsyn. Here, we report that the phenotypes of mice deficient in these two molecules can be reproduced by RNA interference (RNAi) in rat muscle in vivo. Specifically, double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) targeting MuSK and rapsyn inhibited the formation of the NMJ in rat muscle fibres in vivo, while dsRNA targeting nonessential proteins did not have any effect. Moreover, plasmids that trigger RNAi to MuSK induced the disassembly of existing NMJs. These results thus demonstrate for the first time the functionality of dsRNA in silencing endogenous genes in adult mammalian muscle in vivo. Moreover, they show that MuSK is also required for the maintenance of the NMJ, offering a mechanistic explanation for the myasthenia gravis caused by auto-antibodies to MuSK.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/sj.embor.7400065DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1298976PMC
February 2004

Expression of mouse agrin in normal, denervated and dystrophic muscle.

Neuromuscul Disord 2003 Jun;13(5):408-15

Department of Pharmacology/Neurobiology, Biozentrum, University of Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 70, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland.

Agrin is a heparan sulfate proteoglycan that is required for the development of postsynaptic specializations at the neuromuscular junction. An alternatively spliced isoform of agrin that lacks this activity is found in basement membranes of several tissues including embryonic muscle. Overexpression of a miniaturized form of this agrin isoform ameliorates the severe muscle dystrophy of laminin alpha2-deficient mice, a mouse model for merosin-deficient congenital muscle dystrophy. Several lines of evidence indicate that this amelioration is based on the high-affinity binding of the mini-agrin to the laminins and to alpha-dystroglycan. Here, we used antibodies raised against mouse agrin to evaluate protein expression in adult muscle of normal and dystrophic mice. We find that expression of agrin in non-synaptic region varies greatly between different muscles in wild-type mice and that its levels are altered in dystrophic muscle.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0960-8966(03)00036-1DOI Listing
June 2003