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Sharon Mordechay
Shaun Smullen
Paul Evans
Olga Genin
Mark Pines
Orna Halevy                   

Progressive loss of muscle and muscle function is associated with significant fibrosis in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) patients. Halofuginone, an analog of febrifugine, prevents fibrosis in various animal models, including those of muscular dystrophies. Effects of (+)/(-)-halofuginone enantiomers on motor coordination and diaphragm histopathology in mdx mice, the mouse model for DMD, were examined. Four-week-old male mice were treated with racemic halofuginone, or its separate enantiomers, for 10 weeks. Controls were treated with saline. Racemic halofuginone-treated mice demonstrated better motor coordination and balance than controls. However, (+)-halofuginone surpassed the racemic form's effect. No effect was observed for (-)-halofuginone, which behaved like the control. A significant reduction in collagen content and degenerative areas, and an increase in utrophin levels were observed in diaphragms of mice treated with racemic halofuginone. Again, (+)-halofuginone was more effective than the racemic form, whereas (-)-halofuginone had no effect. Both racemic and (+)-halofuginone increased diaphragm myofiber diameters, with no effect for (-)-halofuginone. No effects were observed for any of the compounds tested in an in-vitro cell viability assay. These results, demonstrating a differential effect of the halofuginone enantiomers and superiority of (+)-halofuginone, are of great importance for future use of (+)-halofuginone as a DMD antifibrotic therapy.

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Differential Effects of Halofuginone Enantiomers on Muscle Fibrosis and Histopathology in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

Sharon Mordechay
Shaun Smullen
Paul Evans
Olga Genin
Mark Pines
Orna Halevy                   

Differential Effects of Halofuginone Enantiomers on Muscle Fibrosis and Histopathology in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy .

Progressive loss of muscle and muscle function is associated with significant fibrosis in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) patients. Halofuginone, an analog of febrifugine, prevents fibrosis in various animal models, including those of muscular dystrophies. Effects of (+)/(-)-halofuginone enantiomers on motor coordination and diaphragm histopathology in mdx mice, the mouse model for DMD, were examined. Four-week-old male mice were treated with racemic halofuginone, or its separate enantiomers, for 10 weeks. Controls were treated with saline. Racemic halofuginone-treated mice demonstrated better motor coordination and balance than controls. However, (+)-halofuginone surpassed the racemic form's effect. No effect was observed for (-)-halofuginone, which behaved like the control. A significant reduction in collagen content and degenerative areas, and an increase in utrophin levels were observed in diaphragms of mice treated with racemic halofuginone. Again, (+)-halofuginone was more effective than the racemic form, whereas (-)-halofuginone had no effect. Both racemic and (+)-halofuginone increased diaphragm myofiber diameters, with no effect for (-)-halofuginone. No effects were observed for any of the compounds tested in an in-vitro cell viability assay. These results, demonstrating a differential effect of the halofuginone enantiomers and superiority of (+)-halofuginone, are of great importance for future use of (+)-halofuginone as a DMD antifibrotic therapy.

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