There is no cure or beneficial management option for Limb-Girdle muscular dystrophy (MD) type 2B (LGMD2B). Losartan, a blood pressure (BP) lowering angiotensin II (AngII) receptor type 1 (ATR1) blocker (ARB) with unique anti-transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) properties, can protect muscles in various types of MD such as Duchenne MD, suggesting a potential benefit for LGMD2B patients.
Herein, the researchers show in a mild, dysferlin-null mouse model of LGMD2B that losartan increased quadriceps muscle fibrosis (142%; P<0.0001). In a severe, atherogenic diet-fed model of LGMD2B recently described by our group, losartan further exacerbated dysferlin-null mouse muscle wasting in quadriceps and triceps brachii, two muscles typically affected by LGMD2B, by 40% and 51%, respectively (P<0.05). Lower TGF-β signalling was not observed with losartan, therefore plasma levels of atherogenic lipids known to aggravate LGMD2B severity were investigated.
The authors report that losartan increased both plasma triglycerides and cholesterol concentrations in dysferlin-null mice. Other protective properties of losartan, such as increased nitric oxide release and BP lowering, were also reduced in the absence of dysferlin expression.
These data suggest that LGMD2B patients may show some resistance to the primary BP-lowering effects of losartan along with accelerated muscle wasting and dyslipidemia. Hence, the researchers urge caution on the use of ARBs in this population as their ATR1 pathway may be dysfunctional.
Angiotensin II receptor blocker losartan exacerbates muscle damage and exhibits weak blood pressure-lowering activity in a dysferlin-null model of Limb-Girdle muscular dystrophy type 2B. White Z, Milad N, Tehrani AY, Chen WW, Donen G, Sellers SL, Bernatchez P. PLoS One. 2019 Aug 12;14(8):e0220903. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0220903. eCollection 2019.