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Murabutide Revisited: A Review of its Pleiotropic Biological Effects

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Despite the great efforts put into their development, the list of clinically approved immunological adjuvants is still very short. Evolution of the knowledge of the immune system has enabled for rational design of novel adjuvants and has led to the conclusion that more than one type of adjuvant will be required. Derivatives of muramyl dipeptide (MDP), the minimal immunomodulatory structure of bacterial cell wall peptidoglycan, have gained considerable attention in the past decades, because of their potent adjuvant effects. Murabutide is a safe derivative of MDP, which interacts with cells of the immune system, both innate and adaptive, and exerts its effect through activation of Nod2. The transcriptional response of murabutide–stimulated macrophages revealed enhanced expression of genes coding for various proteins such as immune mediators and their receptors, transcription factors and kinases, ion channels-transporters and proteins involved in cell metabolic activity, thus reflecting a broad spectrum of biological effects. In addition to its well recognized adjuvant effect, murabutide has also been shown to enhance the host's resistance against microbial infections, nonspecific resistance against tumors and the induction of cytokines and chemokines implicated in enhancing the immune response and hematopoesis. This article provides an insight into the mechanism of action of murabutide and its interactions with the cells of the immune system in vitro and in vivo. On account of its numerous biological effects, murabutide has been the subject of several clinical studies. Many of these have confirmed its potential to synergize with cytokines of therapeutic interest in potentiating the tumoricidal activity of macrophages or targeting chronic viral diseases, as well as reducing the cytokine dosage needed to achieve a therapeutic effect. This review covers the findings of all relevant studies and focuses on the role of murabutide and its potential in the treatment of several microbial diseases.
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Keywords: HCV; HIV–1; Murabutide; immunoadjuvant; immunomodulator; immunostimulant; leprosy; vaccine

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2013-05-01

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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