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Papers of the Week

2022 Aug 24

Int J Mol Sci



Exploring the Therapeutic Potential of Ectoine in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy: Comparison with Taurine, a Supplement with Known Beneficial Effects in the Mouse.


Merckx C, Zschüntzsch J, Meyer S, Raedt R, Verschuere H, Schmidt J, De Paepe B, De Bleecker JL
Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Aug 24; 23(17).
PMID: 36076964.


Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is a debilitating muscle disorder that condemns patients to year-long dependency on glucocorticoids. Chronic glucocorticoid use elicits many unfavourable side-effects without offering satisfying clinical improvement, thus, the search for alternative treatments to alleviate muscle inflammation persists. Taurine, an osmolyte with anti-inflammatory effects, mitigated pathological features in the mouse model for DMD but interfered with murine development. In this study, ectoine is evaluated as an alternative for taurine in vitro in CCL-136 cells and in vivo in the mouse. Pre-treating CCL-136 cells with 0.1 mM taurine and 0.1 mM ectoine prior to exposure with 300 U/mL IFN-γ and 20 ng/mL IL-1β partially attenuated cell death, whilst 100 mM taurine reduced MHC-I protein levels. In vivo, histopathological features of the tibialis anterior in mice were mitigated by ectoine, but not by taurine. Osmolyte treatment significantly reduced mRNA levels of inflammatory disease biomarkers, respectively, CCL2 and SPP1 in ectoine-treated mice, and CCL2, HSPA1A, TNF-α and IL-1β in taurine-treated mice. Functional performance was not improved by osmolyte treatment. Furthermore, ectoine-treated mice exhibited reduced body weight. Our results confirmed beneficial effects of taurine in mice and, for the first time, demonstrated similar and differential effects of ectoine.