UMass Chan Medical School Faculty Publications

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Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Program; Department of Neurology; Emerson Lab

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Cellular and Molecular Physiology | Congenital, Hereditary, and Neonatal Diseases and Abnormalities | Enzymes and Coenzymes | Musculoskeletal Diseases | Musculoskeletal, Neural, and Ocular Physiology | Nervous System Diseases | Therapeutics


p38 MAPKs play a central role in orchestrating the cellular response to stress and inflammation and in the regulation of myogenesis. Potent inhibitors of p38 MAPKs have been pursued as potential therapies for several disease indications due to their antiinflammatory properties, although none have been approved to date. Here, we provide a brief overview of p38 MAPKs, including their role in regulating myogenesis and their association with disease progression. Finally, we discuss targeting p38 MAPKs as a therapeutic approach for treating facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy and other muscular dystrophies by addressing multiple pathological mechanisms in skeletal muscle.


Mitogen-activated protein kinases, p38 MAPKs, myogenesis, skeletal muscle, facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy

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Copyright © 2021 Brennan et al. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit

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Brennan CM, Emerson CP Jr, Owens J, Christoforou N. p38 MAPKs - roles in skeletal muscle physiology, disease mechanisms, and as potential therapeutic targets. JCI Insight. 2021 Jun 22;6(12):e149915. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.149915. PMID: 34156029; PMCID: PMC8262482. Link to article on publisher's site

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.