Systemic delivery of NEMO binding domain/IKKγ inhibitory peptide to young mdx mice improves dystrophic skeletal muscle histopathology

Daniel P. Reay, Michele Yang, Jon F. Watchko, Molly Daood, Terrence L. O'Day, Khaleel K. Rehman, Denis C. Guttridge, Paul D. Robbins, Paula R. Clemens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The activation of nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) contributes to muscle degeneration that results from dystrophin deficiency in human Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and in the mdx mouse. In dystrophic muscle, NF-κB participates in inflammation and failure of muscle regeneration. Peptides containing the NF-κB Essential Modulator (NEMO) binding domain (NBD) disrupt the IκB kinase complex, thus blocking NF-κB activation. The NBD peptide, which is linked to a protein transduction domain to achieve in vivo peptide delivery to muscle tissue, was systemically delivered to mdx mice for 4 or 7 weeks to study NF-κB activation, histological changes in hind limb and diaphragm muscle and ex vivo function of diaphragm muscle. Decreased NF-κB activation, decreased necrosis and increased regeneration were observed in hind limb and diaphragm muscle in mdx mice treated systemically with NBD peptide, as compared to control mdx mice. NBD peptide treatment resulted in improved generation of specific force and greater resistance to lengthening activations in diaphragm muscle ex vivo. Together these data support the potential of NBD peptides for the treatment of DMD by modulating dystrophic pathways in muscle that are downstream of dystrophin deficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)598-608
Number of pages11
JournalNeurobiology of Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a Department of Defense grant (PRC), a VA Merit Review grant, and Muscular Dystrophy Association grants (PDR), U54 AR50733 (PDR) and U01 NS069562 (DCG, PDR and PRC). The authors take full responsibility for the contents of this paper, which do not represent the views of the Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States Government.


  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy
  • Histopathology
  • Lengthening activation
  • Mdx mouse
  • Muscle necrosis
  • Muscle regeneration
  • NEMO binding domain peptide
  • NF-κB
  • Protein transduction domain
  • Specific force


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