Muscle membrane integrity in Duchenne muscular dystrophy: Recent advances in copolymer-based muscle membrane stabilizers

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The scientific premise, design, and structure-function analysis of chemical-based muscle membrane stabilizing block copolymers are reviewed here for applications in striated muscle membrane injury. Synthetic block copolymers have a rich history and wide array of applications from industry to biology. Potential for discovery is enabled by a large chemical space for block copolymers, including modifications in block copolymer mass, composition, and molecular architecture. Collectively, this presents an impressive chemical landscape to leverage distinct structure-function outcomes. Of particular relevance to biology and medicine, stabilization of damaged phospholipid membranes using amphiphilic block copolymers, classified as poloxamers or pluronics, has been the subject of increasing scientific inquiry. This review focuses on implementing block copolymers to protect fragile muscle membranes against mechanical stress. The review highlights interventions in Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a fatal disease of progressive muscle deterioration owing to marked instability of the striated muscle membrane. Biophysical and chemical engineering advances are presented that delineate and expand upon current understanding of copolymer-lipid membrane interactions and the mechanism of stabilization. The studies presented here serve to underscore the utility of copolymer discovery leading toward the therapeutic application of block copolymers in Duchenne muscular dystrophy and potentially other biomedical applications in which membrane integrity is compromised.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number31
JournalSkeletal muscle
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 10 2018

Bibliographical note

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  • Block copolymers
  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy
  • Membrane stabilization


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