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      The role of myostatin in muscle wasting: an overview

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          Abstract

          Myostatin is an extracellular cytokine mostly expressed in skeletal muscles and known to play a crucial role in the negative regulation of muscle mass. Upon the binding to activin type IIB receptor, myostatin can initiate several different signalling cascades resulting in the upregulation of the atrogenes and downregulation of the important for myogenesis genes. Muscle size is regulated via a complex interplay of myostatin signalling with the insulin-like growth factor 1/phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt pathway responsible for increase in protein synthesis in muscle. Therefore, the regulation of muscle weight is a process in which myostatin plays a central role but the mechanism of its action and signalling cascades are not fully understood. Myostatin upregulation was observed in the pathogenesis of muscle wasting during cachexia associated with different diseases (i.e. cancer, heart failure, HIV). Characterisation of myostatin signalling is therefore a perspective direction in the treatment development for cachexia. The current review covers the present knowledge about myostatin signalling pathways leading to muscle wasting and the state of therapy approaches via the regulation of myostatin and/or its downstream targets in cachexia.

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          Most cited references 79

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          A mutation creating a potential illegitimate microRNA target site in the myostatin gene affects muscularity in sheep.

          Texel sheep are renowned for their exceptional meatiness. To identify the genes underlying this economically important feature, we performed a whole-genome scan in a Romanov x Texel F2 population. We mapped a quantitative trait locus with a major effect on muscle mass to chromosome 2 and subsequently fine-mapped it to a chromosome interval encompassing the myostatin (GDF8) gene. We herein demonstrate that the GDF8 allele of Texel sheep is characterized by a G to A transition in the 3' UTR that creates a target site for mir1 and mir206, microRNAs (miRNAs) that are highly expressed in skeletal muscle. This causes translational inhibition of the myostatin gene and hence contributes to the muscular hypertrophy of Texel sheep. Analysis of SNP databases for humans and mice demonstrates that mutations creating or destroying putative miRNA target sites are abundant and might be important effectors of phenotypic variation.
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            Double muscling in cattle due to mutations in the myostatin gene.

            Myostatin (GDF-8) is a member of the transforming growth factor beta superfamily of secreted growth and differentiation factors that is essential for proper regulation of skeletal muscle mass in mice. Here we report the myostatin sequences of nine other vertebrate species and the identification of mutations in the coding sequence of bovine myostatin in two breeds of double-muscled cattle, Belgian Blue and Piedmontese, which are known to have an increase in muscle mass relative to conventional cattle. The Belgian Blue myostatin sequence contains an 11-nucleotide deletion in the third exon which causes a frameshift that eliminates virtually all of the mature, active region of the molecule. The Piedmontese myostatin sequence contains a missense mutation in exon 3, resulting in a substitution of tyrosine for an invariant cysteine in the mature region of the protein. The similarity in phenotypes of double-muscled cattle and myostatin null mice suggests that myostatin performs the same biological function in these two species and is a potentially useful target for genetic manipulation in other farm animals.
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              Reversal of cancer cachexia and muscle wasting by ActRIIB antagonism leads to prolonged survival.

              Muscle wasting and cachexia have long been postulated to be key determinants of cancer-related death, but there has been no direct experimental evidence to substantiate this hypothesis. Here, we show that in several cancer cachexia models, pharmacological blockade of ActRIIB pathway not only prevents further muscle wasting but also completely reverses prior loss of skeletal muscle and cancer-induced cardiac atrophy. This treatment dramatically prolongs survival, even of animals in which tumor growth is not inhibited and fat loss and production of proinflammatory cytokines are not reduced. ActRIIB pathway blockade abolished the activation of the ubiquitin-proteasome system and the induction of atrophy-specific ubiquitin ligases in muscles and also markedly stimulated muscle stem cell growth. These findings establish a crucial link between activation of the ActRIIB pathway and the development of cancer cachexia. Thus ActRIIB antagonism is a promising new approach for treating cancer cachexia, whose inhibition per se prolongs survival. Copyright 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                +49-30-450525023 , +49-30-450525978 , feigele@gmail.com
                Journal
                J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle
                Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle
                Springer-Verlag (Berlin/Heidelberg )
                2190-5991
                2190-6009
                26 July 2011
                26 July 2011
                September 2011
                : 2
                : 3
                : 143-151
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Applied Cachexia Research, Department of Cardiology, Charité Medical School, Berlin, Germany
                [2 ]Center for Cardiovascular Research, Charite Medical School, Hessische Str. 3-4, 10115 Berlin, Germany
                [3 ]Centre for Clinical and Basic Research, IRCCS San Raffaele, Rome, Italy
                [4 ]Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
                Article
                35
                10.1007/s13539-011-0035-5
                3177043
                21966641
                © The Author(s) 2011
                Categories
                Review
                Custom metadata
                © Springer-Verlag 2011

                Orthopedics

                myostatin, muscle wasting, cachexia

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