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Muscular dystrophy and trained immunity

Basil Petrof, MD, and his research team, have uncovered a new mechanism of inflammation in muscular dystrophy, paving the way for the development of new therapies.

Basil Petrof, MD, along with postdoctoral fellow Salyan Bhattarai, PhD have uncovered a new mechanism of inflammation in muscular dystrophy.

Their study, published in Nature Communications, reveals that signals sent from damaged muscles to the bone marrow induce long-lasting changes in immune cells termed ‘trained immunity’ and actually exacerbate harmful inflammation. Salyan Bhattarai explains:

“We found that in muscular dystrophy, macrophages show the classical elements of trained immunity, including epigenetic changes that can cause long-term maintenance of the abnormal inflammatory behaviour of these cells… It appears that the chronic release of muscle damage molecules into the bloodstream is able to reprogram macrophage precursors in the bone marrow at a distance.”

Salyan Bhattarai, PhD

The discovery of Dr. Petrof and his research team paves the way for the development of more targeted therapies based on targeting of the epigenetic and metabolic mechanisms known to promote trained immunity.

Basil Petrof, MD, is a Senior Scientist and member of the RESP Program at the Research Institute of the MUHC and Director of the Meakins-Christie Laboratories at McGill University.

Read more about the study and the findings here:

RI-MUHC team uncovers new mechanism of inflammation in muscular dystrophy RI-MUHC Research News, February, 2022.

TLR4 is a regulator of trained immunity in a murine model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy Bhattarai S, Li Q, Ding J, Liang F, Gusev E, Lapohos O, Fonseca GJ, Kaufmann E, Divangahi M, Petrof BJ. Nat Commun. 2022 Feb 15;13(1):879. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-28531-1. PMID: 35169163.