Nemaline myopathy (NEM) is a congenital neuromuscular disorder primarily caused by nebulin gene (NEB) mutations. NEM is characterized by muscle weakness for which currently no treatments exist. In NEM patients a predominance of type I fibers has been found. Thus, therapeutic options targeting type I fibers could be highly beneficial for NEM patients. Because type I muscle fibers express the same myosin isoform as cardiac muscle (Myh7), the effect of omecamtiv mecarbil (OM), a small molecule activator of Myh7, was studied in a nebulin-based NEM mouse model (Neb cKO). Skinned single fibers were activated by exogenous calcium and force was measured at a wide range of calcium concentrations. Maximal specific force of type I fibers was much less in fibers from Neb cKO animals and calcium sensitivity of permeabilized single fibers was reduced (pCa50 6.12 ±0.08 (cKO) vs 6.36 ±0.08 (CON)). OM increased the calcium sensitivity of type I single muscle fibers. The greatest effect occurred in type I fibers from Neb cKO muscle where OM restored the calcium sensitivity to that of the control type I fibers. Forces at submaximal activation levels (pCa 6.0–6.5) were significantly increased in Neb cKO fibers (~50%) but remained below that of control fibers. OM also increased isometric force and power during isotonic shortening of intact whole soleus muscle of Neb cKO mice, with the largest effects at physiological stimulation frequencies. We conclude that OM has the potential to improve the quality of life of NEM patients by increasing the force of type I fibers at submaximal activation levels.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)