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      The growth factor myostatin, a key regulator in skeletal muscle growth and homeostasis.

      1 ,

      International journal of sports medicine

      Georg Thieme Verlag KG

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          Skeletal muscle possesses the ability to both respond and adapt to changing environmental stimuli, leading to a set of metabolic and morphological adaptations, which allow it to better meet the energy demands of sustained physical activity. Great progress has been achieved over the past years by means of innovative molecular techniques, which has led to the discovery of new growth factors and the identification of molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of muscle development. These findings provide new starting points to understand the molecular mechanisms involved in the adaptation of skeletal muscle to exercise training. One of these new identified growth factors is myostatin, a member of the transforming growth factor-beta family of proteins that has been demonstrated to play a fundamental role in the regulation of skeletal muscle growth during embryogenesis. Blocking of the myostatin signalling transduction pathway by specific inhibitors and genetic manipulations has been shown to result in a dramatic increase of skeletal muscle mass. This review focuses on the importance of myostatin in mediating skeletal muscle homeostasis in response to training as well as during the progress of myogenic disease, like atrophy or dystrophy. Manipulations of myostatin signalling may be useful for agriculture applications, treatment of muscle diseases, inhibition of muscle atrophy and last but not least as life style drugs in antiaging therapies or manipulations of the muscle to fat ratio. Drugs with the ability to modulate myostatin signalling may have the potential to enhance physical performance in athletes and therefore they probably represent a new class of doping substances.

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          Author and article information

          Int J Sports Med
          International journal of sports medicine
          Georg Thieme Verlag KG
          Mar 2005
          : 26
          : 2
          [1 ] Department of Molecular and Cellular Sports Medicine, Institute of Sports Medicine and Cardiovascular Research, German Sport University Cologne, Carl-Diem-Weg 6, 50933 Cologne, Germany.


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