Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors ameliorate MEGF10 myopathy

Madhurima Saha, Skylar A. Rizzo, Manashwi Ramanathan, Rylie M. Hightower, Katherine E. Santostefano, Naohiro Terada, Richard S. Finkel, Jonathan S. Berg, Nizar Chahin, Christina A. Pacak, Richard E. Wagner, Matthew S. Alexander, Isabelle Draper, Peter B. Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


MEGF10 myopathy is a rare inherited muscle disease that is named after the causative gene, MEGF10. The classic phenotype, early onset myopathy, areflexia, respiratory distress and dysphagia, is severe and immediately life-threatening. There are no disease-modifying therapies. We performed a small molecule screen and follow-up studies to seek a novel therapy. A primary in vitro drug screen assessed cellular proliferation patterns in Megf10-deficient myoblasts. Secondary evaluations were performed on primary screen hits using myoblasts derived from Megf10-/- mice, induced pluripotent stem cell-derived myoblasts from MEGF10 myopathy patients, mutant Drosophila that are deficient in the homologue of MEGF10 (Drpr) and megf10 mutant zebrafish. The screen yielded two promising candidates that are both selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), sertraline and escitalopram. In depth follow-up analyses demonstrated that sertraline was highly effective in alleviating abnormalities across multiple models of the disease including mouse myoblast, human myoblast, Drosophila and zebrafish models. Sertraline also restored deficiencies of Notch1 in disease models. We conclude that SSRIs show promise as potential therapeutic compounds for MEGF10 myopathy, especially sertraline. The mechanism of action may involve the Notch pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberddz064
Pages (from-to)2365-2377
Number of pages13
JournalHuman molecular genetics
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 15 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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