Inhibition of sphingolipid de novo synthesis counteracts muscular dystrophy

Sci Adv. 2022 Jan 28;8(4):eabh4423. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abh4423. Epub 2022 Jan 28.


Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), the most common muscular dystrophy, is a severe muscle disorder, causing muscle weakness, loss of independence, and premature death. Here, we establish the link between sphingolipids and muscular dystrophy. Transcripts of sphingolipid de novo biosynthesis pathway are up-regulated in skeletal muscle of patients with DMD and other muscular dystrophies, which is accompanied by accumulation of metabolites of the sphingolipid pathway in muscle and plasma. Pharmacological inhibition of sphingolipid synthesis by myriocin in the mdx mouse model of DMD ameliorated the loss in muscle function while reducing inflammation, improving Ca2+ homeostasis, preventing fibrosis of the skeletal muscle, heart, and diaphragm, and restoring the balance between M1 and M2 macrophages. Myriocin alleviated the DMD phenotype more than glucocorticoids. Our study identifies inhibition of sphingolipid synthesis, targeting multiple pathogenetic pathways simultaneously, as a strong candidate for treatment of muscular dystrophies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fibrosis
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred mdx
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne* / drug therapy
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne* / genetics
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne* / metabolism
  • Sphingolipids / metabolism
  • Sphingolipids / therapeutic use


  • Sphingolipids