Blocking fatty molecules called sphingolipids reduces the effects of Duchenne muscular dystrophy
Mysterious enough to be named after The Great Sphinx, sphingolipids are odd-shaped fatty molecules important in development and sending signals between our cells – but they also have a dark side. Sphingolipids, or rather problems controlling them, can cause nasty conditions called sphingolipidoses. Here researchers find the enigmatic molecules also play a role in muscular dystrophies – where muscle progressively weakens. Looking at the effects on this mosaic-like muscle tissue in a young mouse (with different muscle types highlighted in different colours), researchers blocked new sphingolipids forming with a chemical called myriocin. This reduced the effects of Duchenne muscular dystrophy – lowering inflammation and preventing damage – suggesting new drugs may help in solving the riddle of the sphingolipids.
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