Study finds cardiovascular drugs may prove promising in fighting muscular dystrophy

One of the experts said, “We believe that the calcium channel is a new therapeutic target and if we can correctly target it pharmacologically, it will improve muscle function and health.”

(Dennis Thompson – HealthDay News) — a common type Medicines to treat heart problems may be able to improve one of the most common forms of muscular dystrophyA new study suggests Rats.

Researchers report that myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is caused by an abnormal RNA that affects the function of calcium channel receptors, which help convert nerve cell impulses into chemical signals that direct muscle movement. Are.

Given the above, a type of heart drug called a calcium channel blocker might be able to eliminate the “noise” caused by this abnormal RNA, they argued.

These drugs successfully relieved the symptoms of T1D in lab mice bred to have the genetic problem that causes that form of muscular dystrophy.According to the results, which were published in the January 2 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

“We believe that the calcium channel is a new therapeutic target and, if we can correctly target it pharmacologically, it will improve muscle function and health”The researchers wrote.

People with T1D suffer from muscle weakness and prolonged muscle tension, making it difficult to relax the muscles after use, they said in supporting notes.

Muscle problems caused by the disease affect the eyes, heart, and brain, eventually leading to problems with walking, swallowing, and breathing.

More than two decades ago, co-investigator Dr. Charles Thornton, a neurologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center, discovered how a genetic defect causes T1D. According to Thornton’s earlier research, the genetic “stutter” resulted from thousands of code duplications in a section of chromosome 19.

In turn, this defect causes the accumulation of abnormal RNA that interferes with healthy muscle function. To investigate this cycle and better understand T1D, researchers bred laboratory mice that had four genetic defects found in T1D, specifically, in genes associated with calcium and chloride channels.

“Myotonic dystrophy is truly a complex disorder that can almost be viewed as a combination of multiple diseases,” co-investigator John Luke, an associate professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center, said in a University of Rochester news release.

They then tried treating these mice with calcium channel blockers, which are commonly used to treat high blood pressure, heart rhythm problems, and migraines.

Researchers reported that verapamil, a calcium channel blocker used to treat blood pressure and chest pain, caused the mice to quickly recover muscle function and appear as healthy as normal laboratory mice.

“Our research also shows that muscle loss in T1D is potentially reduced by common clinically available calcium channel blockers, and calcium channel modulation is a potential therapeutic strategy,” Luke said.

However, the researchers noted that verapamil should not be considered for use in humans with T1D, as it may have harmful side effects. Additionally, research in rats does not always work in humans.

“Our goal now is to find the right, safe calcium channel blocker that works, and we believe it exists,” The researchers concluded.

more information

The Cleveland Clinic has more information on calcium channel blockers.

Source: University of Rochester Medical Center, news release, January 2, 2023

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