Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a pediatric-onset neuromuscular disorder caused by insufficient survival motor neuron (SMN) protein. SMN restorative therapies are now approved for the treatment of SMA; however, they are not curative, likely due to a combination of imperfect treatment timing, inadequate SMN augmentation, and failure to optimally target relevant organs. Here, we consider the implications of imperfect treatment administration, focusing specifically on outcomes for skeletal muscle. We examine the evidence that muscle plays a contributing role in driving neuromuscular dysfunction in SMA. Next, we discuss how SMN might regulate the health of myofibers and their progenitors. Finally, we speculate on therapeutic outcomes of failing to raise muscle SMN to healthful levels and present strategies to restore function to this tissue to ensure better treatment results.
Narendra N. Jha, Jeong-Ki Kim, Yoon-Ra Her, Umrao R. Monani
Schematic of the chief cell- and non-cell-autonomous defects arising from low SMN in skeletal muscle tissue.