Abstract

For several decades, serological biomarkers of neuromuscular diseases as dystrophies, myopathies and myositis have been limited to routine clinical biochemistry panels. Gauging the pathological progression is a prerequisite for proper treatment and therefore identifying accessible, easy to monitor biomarkers that can predict the disease progression would be an important advancement. Most muscle diseases involve accelerated muscle fiber degradation, inflammation, fatty tissue substitution and/or fibrosis. All these pathological traits have been shown to give rise to serological peptide biomarkers in other tissues, underlining the potential application of existing biomarkers of such traits in muscle disorders. A significant quantity of tissue is involved in these pathological mechanisms alongside with qualitative changes in protein turnover in myofibrillar, extra-cellular matrix and immunological cell protein fractions accompanied by alterations in body fluids. We propose that protein and peptides can leak out of the afflicted muscles and can be of use in diagnosis, prediction of pathology trajectory and treatment efficacy. Proteolytic cleavage systems are especially modulated during a range of muscle pathologies, thereby giving rise to peptides that are differentially released during disease manifestation. Therefore, we believe that pathology-specific post-translational modifications like cleavages can give rise to neoepitope peptides that may represent a promising class of peptides for discovery of biomarkers pertaining to neuromuscular diseases.

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