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Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an inherited neurodegenerative disorder and the first genetic cause of death in childhood. SMA is caused by low levels of survival motor neuron (SMN) protein that induce selective loss of α-motor neurons (MNs) in the spinal cord, resulting in progressive muscle atrophy and consequent respiratory failure. To date, no effective treatment is available to counteract the course of the disease. Among the different therapeutic strategies with potential clinical applications, the evaluation of trophic and/or protective agents able to antagonize MNs degeneration represents an attractive opportunity to develop valid therapies. Here we investigated the effects of IPLEX (recombinant human insulinlike growth factor 1 [rhIGF-1] complexed with recombinant human IGF-1 binding protein 3 [rhIGFBP-3]) on a severe mouse model of SMA. Interestingly, molecular and biochemical analyses of IGF-1 carried out in SMA mice before drug administration revealed marked reductions of IGF-1 circulating levels and hepatic mRNA expression. In this study, we found that perinatal administration of IPLEX, even if does not influence survival and body weight of mice, results in reduced degeneration of MNs, increased muscle fiber size and in amelioration of motor functions in SMA mice. Additionally, we show that phenotypic changes observed are not SMN-dependent, since no significant SMN modification was addressed in treated mice. Collectively, our data indicate IPLEX as a good therapeutic candidate to hinder the progression of the neurodegenerative process in SMA.

Citation

Michela Murdocca, Arianna Malgieri, Andrea Luchetti, Luciano Saieva, Gabriella Dobrowolny, Elvira de Leonibus, Antonio Filareto, Maria Chiara Quitadamo, Giuseppe Novelli, Antonio Musarò, Federica Sangiuolo. IPLEX administration improves motor neuron survival and ameliorates motor functions in a severe mouse model of spinal muscular atrophy. Molecular medicine (Cambridge, Mass.). 2012;18:1076-85

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PMID: 22669476

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