Introduction: Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is a debilitating muscle wasting disorder with no cure. Safer supplements and therapies are needed to improve the severity of symptoms, as severe side effects are associated with the only effective treatment, corticosteroids. The amino acid taurine has shown promise in ameliorating dystrophic symptoms in mdx mice, an animal model of DMD, however little work is in 21-28 (d)ay animals, the period of natural peak damage.
Methods: This study compares the effect of pre-natal taurine supplementation on tibialis anterior (TA) in-situ contractile function, histopathological characteristics and Ca2+-handling as well as abundance of pathologically-relevant proteins in non-exercised mdx mice at 28 and 70 d.
Results: Supplementation elevated TA taurine content by 25% (p<0.05), ameliorated in-situ specific force by 60% (p<0.05) and improved histological characteristics in 28 d mdx mice; however no benefit was seen in 70 d mice, where background pathology was initially stable. Age specific effects in SERCA1, calsequestrin 1 (CSQ1), CSQ2, utrophin and myogenin protein abundances were seen between both 28 and 70 d mdx and mdx taurine-supplemented mice.
Discussion: Considering these findings and that taurine is a relatively cost effective, readily accessible and side effect free dietary supplement, we propose further investigation into taurine supplementation during pregnancy in a protective capacity, reminiscent of folate in the prevention of spinal bifida.