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Lack of myostatin results in excessive muscle growth but impaired force generation

Amthor, H., Macharia, R., Navarrete, R., Schuelke, M., Brown, S. C., Otto, A., Voit, T., Muntoni, F., Vrbova, G., Partridge, T., Zammit, P., Bunger, L. and Patel, K. (2007) Lack of myostatin results in excessive muscle growth but impaired force generation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104 (6). pp. 1835-40. ISSN 0027-8424

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0604893104


The lack of myostatin promotes growth of skeletal muscle, and blockade of its activity has been proposed as a treatment for various muscle-wasting disorders. Here, we have examined two independent mouse lines that harbor mutations in the myostatin gene, constitutive null (Mstn(-/-)) and compact (Berlin High Line, BEH(c/c)). We report that, despite a larger muscle mass relative to age-matched wild types, there was no increase in maximum tetanic force generation, but that when expressed as a function of muscle size (specific force), muscles of myostatin-deficient mice were weaker than wild-type muscles. In addition, Mstn(-/-) muscle contracted and relaxed faster during a single twitch and had a marked increase in the number of type IIb fibers relative to wild-type controls. This change was also accompanied by a significant increase in type IIB fibers containing tubular aggregates. Moreover, the ratio of mitochondrial DNA to nuclear DNA and mitochondria number were decreased in myostatin-deficient muscle, suggesting a mitochondrial depletion. Overall, our results suggest that lack of myostatin compromises force production in association with loss of oxidative characteristics of skeletal muscle.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research (ICMR)
ID Code:9934
Uncontrolled Keywords:dystrophy, histology, mitochondria, physiology
Additional Information:Genetic deletion of Myostatin causes animals to develop huge amounts of skeletal muscle. Many have proposed that strategies that antagonise Myostatin could be used to develop skeletal muscle as a therapeutic answer to muscle wasting diseases. In this paper we show for the first time that although Myostatin null mice develop large amounts of muscle, it is unable to generate the levels of force associated with normal muscle. Furthermore, we highlight that muscle that develops in the absence of Myostatin lacks the appropriate number of mitochondria

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