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Treatment with the cysteine precursor l-2-oxothiazolidine-4-carboxylate (OTC) implicates taurine deficiency in severity of dystropathology in mdx mice

Jessica R Terrill, Amber Boyatzis, Miranda D Grounds, Peter G Arthur
International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology 2013, 45 (9): 2097-108
23892094
Oxidative stress has been implicated in the pathology of the lethal skeletal muscle disease Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), and various antioxidants have been investigated as a potential therapy. Recently, treatment of the mdx mouse model for DMD with the antioxidant and cysteine and glutathione (GSH) precursor n-acetylcysteine (NAC) was shown to decrease protein thiol oxidation and improve muscle pathology and ex vivo muscle strength. This study further investigates the mechanism for the benefits of NAC on dystrophic muscle by administering l-2-oxothiazolidine-4-carboxylate (OTC) which also upregulates intracellular cysteine and GSH, but does not directly function as an antioxidant. We observed that OTC, like NAC, decreases protein thiol oxidation, decreases pathology and increases strength, suggesting that the both NAC and OTC function via increasing cysteine and GSH content of dystrophic muscle. We demonstrate that mdx muscle is not deficient in either cysteine or GSH and that these are not increased by OTC treatment. However, we show that dystrophic muscle of 12 week old mdx mice is deficient in taurine, a by-product of disposal of excess cysteine, a deficiency that is ameliorated by OTC treatment. These data suggest that in dystrophic muscles, apart from the strong association of increased oxidative stress and protein thiol oxidation with dystropathology, another major issue is an insufficiency in taurine that can be corrected by increasing the availability of cysteine. This study provides new insight into the molecular mechanism underlying the benefits of NAC in muscular dystrophy and supports the use of OTC as an alternative drug for potential clinical applications to DMD.

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