Glycine administration attenuates progression of dystrophic pathology in prednisolone-treated dystrophin/utrophin null mice

Sci Rep. 2019 Sep 10;9(1):12982. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-49140-x.


Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is an X-linked genetic disease characterized by progressive muscle wasting and weakness and premature death. Glucocorticoids (e.g. prednisolone) remain the only drugs with a favorable impact on DMD patients, but not without side effects. We have demonstrated that glycine preserves muscle in various wasting models. Since glycine effectively suppresses the activity of pro-inflammatory macrophages, we investigated the potential of glycine treatment to ameliorate the dystrophic pathology. Dystrophic mdx and dystrophin-utrophin null (dko) mice were treated with glycine or L-alanine (amino acid control) for up to 15 weeks and voluntary running distance (a quality of life marker and strong correlate of lifespan in dko mice) and muscle morphology were assessed. Glycine increased voluntary running distance in mdx mice by 90% (P < 0.05) after 2 weeks and by 60% (P < 0.01) in dko mice co-treated with prednisolone over an 8 week treatment period. Glycine treatment attenuated fibrotic deposition in the diaphragm by 28% (P < 0.05) after 10 weeks in mdx mice and by 22% (P < 0.02) after 14 weeks in dko mice. Glycine treatment augmented the prednisolone-induced reduction in fibrosis in diaphragm muscles of dko mice (23%, P < 0.05) after 8 weeks. Our findings provide strong evidence that glycine supplementation may be a safe, simple and effective adjuvant for improving the efficacy of prednisolone treatment and improving the quality of life for DMD patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Glycine / administration & dosage*
  • Glycine Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred mdx
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Animal / drug therapy*
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Animal / metabolism
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Animal / pathology
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / drug therapy*
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / metabolism
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / pathology
  • Prednisolone / pharmacology*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Glycine Agents
  • Prednisolone
  • Glycine