Congenital muscular dystrophy is a distinct group of diseases presenting with weakness in infancy or childhood and no current therapy. One form, MDC1A, is the result of laminin alpha-2 deficiency and results in significant weakness, respiratory insufficiency and early death. Modification of apoptosis is one potential pathway for therapy in these patients.
dy2J mice were treated with vehicle, 0.1 mg/kg or 1 mg/kg of omigapil daily via oral gavage over 17.5 weeks. Untreated age matched BL6 mice were used as controls. Functional, behavioral and histological measurements were collected.
dy2J mice treated with omigapil showed improved respiratory rates compared to vehicle treated dy2J mice (396 to 402 vs. 371 breaths per minute, p<0.03) and similar to control mice. There were no statistical differences in normalized forelimb grip strength between dy2J and controls at baseline or after 17.5 weeks and no significant differences seen among the dy2J treatment groups. At 30–33 weeks of age, dy2J mice treated with 0.1 mg/kg omigapil showed significantly more movement time and less rest time compared to vehicle treated. dy2J mice showed normal cardiac systolic function throughout the trial. dy2J mice had significantly lower hindlimb maximal (p<0.001) and specific force (p<0.002) compared to the control group at the end of the trial. There were no statistically significant differences in maximal or specific force among treatments. dy2J mice treated with 0.1 mg/kg/day omigapil showed decreased percent fibrosis in both gastrocnemius (p<0.03) and diaphragm (p<0.001) compared to vehicle, and in diaphragm (p<0.013) when compared to 1 mg/kg/day omigapil treated mice. Omigapil treated dy2J mice demonstrated decreased apoptosis.
Omigapil therapy (0.1 mg/kg) improved respiratory rate and decreased skeletal and respiratory muscle fibrosis in dy2J mice. These results support a putative role for the use of omigapil in laminin deficient congenital muscular dystrophy patients.