Duchenne muscular dystrophy is known to be caused by a defective gene of dystrophin, a 427-kDa cytoskeletal protein, but the effective therapeutic drug is presently unavailable. We previously reported that a trypsin-like protease designated as dystrypsin is markedly activated in the muscle microsomal fraction immediately before onset of the clinical signs in mdx mice, a dystrophin-deficient hereditary animal model for human Duchenne muscular dystrophy. In order to examine the possible participation of dystrypsin in the occurrence of the disease, we investigated the therapeutic effects of dystrypsin inhibitors on the occurrence and progress of muscular dystrophy. Here, we show that camostat mesilate, a low-molecular-weight inhibitor of trypsin-like proteases, including dystrypsin, is a candidate drug for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
2003 The Pharmaceutical Society of Japan