Author: Ester Zito
There is more skeletal muscle tissue in the body than any other tissue and, as it is the organ of the majority of metabolic activity, muscle defect can affect the health of the entire body. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress due to defects in protein folding/degradation balance, altered calcium and lipid levels and alterations in ER mitochondria contacts has recently been recognized as the pathogenic cause of many different myopathies. In addition, a maladaptive ER stress response triggered by ER stress and mediated by three ER stress sensors (PERK, IRE1 and ATF6) is involved in a failure to relieve muscle tissue from this stress. Targeting ER stress and the ER stress response pathway offers a broad range of opportunities for treating myopathies but, as the inhibition of the three ER stress sensors may not be safe because it could lead to unexpected effects; it therefore calls for careful analysis of the changes in downstream signal transduction in the different myopathies so these subpathways can be pharmacologically targeted. This review summarises the known inhibitors of the ER stress response and the successful results obtained using some of them in mouse models of muscle diseases caused by ER stress/ER stress response.