Arising from the ablation of the cytoskeletal protein dystrophin, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is a debilitating and fatal skeletal muscle wasting disease underpinned by metabolic insufficiency. The inability to facilitate adequate energy production may impede calcium (Ca2+) buffering within, and the regenerative capacity of, dystrophic muscle. Therefore, increasing the metabogenic potential could represent an effective treatment avenue.
The aim of this study conduted by Australian and French researchers was to determine the efficacy of adenylosuccinic acid (ASA), a purine nucleotide cycle metabolite, to stimulate metabolism and buffer skeletal muscle damage in the mdx mouse model of DMD. Dystrophin-positive control (C57BL/10) and dystrophin-deficient mdx mice were treated with ASA (3000 µg.mL-1) in drinking water. Following the 8-week treatment period, metabolism, mitochondrial density, viability and superoxide (O2-) production, as well as skeletal muscle histopathology, were assessed. ASA treatment significantly improved the histopathological features of murine DMD by reducing damage area, the number of centronucleated fibres, lipid accumulation, connective tissue infiltration and Ca2+ content of mdx tibialis anterior. These effects were independent of upregulated utrophin expression in the tibialis anterior. ASA treatment also increased mitochondrial viability in mdx flexor digitorum brevis fibres and concomitantly reduced O2- production, an effect that was also observed in cultured immortalised human DMD myoblasts.
These data indicates that ASA has a protective effect on mdx skeletal muscles.