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Despite promising therapeutic avenues, there is currently no effective treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a lethal monogenic disorder caused by the loss of the large cytoskeletal protein, dystrophin. A highly promising approach to therapy, applicable to all DMD patients irrespective to their genetic defect, is to modulate utrophin, a functional paralogue of dystrophin, able to compensate for the primary defects of DMD restoring sarcolemmal stability. One of the major difficulties in assessing the effectiveness of therapeutic strategies is to define appropriate outcome measures. In the present study, we utilised an aptamer based proteomics approach to profile 1,310 proteins in plasma of wild-type, mdx and Fiona (mdx overexpressing utrophin) mice. Comparison of the C57 and mdx sera revealed 83 proteins with statistically significant >2 fold changes in dystrophic serum abundance. A large majority of previously described biomarkers (ANP32B, THBS4, CAMK2A/B/D, CYCS, CAPNI) were normalised towards wild-type levels in Fiona animals. This work also identified potential mdx markers specific to increased utrophin (DUS3, TPI1) and highlights novel mdx biomarkers (GITR, MYBPC1, HSP60, SIRT2, SMAD3, CNTN1). We define a panel of putative protein mdx biomarkers to evaluate utrophin based strategies which may help to accelerate their translation to the clinic.

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Animals, Biomarkers, Blood Proteins, Disease Models, Animal, Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay, Humans, Mice, Mice, Transgenic, Muscular Dystrophy, Animal, Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne, Proteome, Proteomics, Translational Medical Research, Utrophin