Glucocorticoids (GCs) are involved in the muscle wasting caused by trauma, inactivity, and stress. In the present study, three experiments were conducted to investigate the effect of GCs on the expression of genes related to muscle development in chickens. Broilers at 7 or 35 days of age were subjected to dexamethasone (DEX) treatment (2 mg/kg body mass (BM)) for 3 or 7 days. The expression levels of genes such as IGF1, IGF1 receptor, MSTN, WW domain containing E3 ubiquitin (UB) protein ligase 1, myogenic determining factor, and myogenic factor 5 were measured. The results showed that BM gain was significantly suppressed by DEX treatment. The plasma level of insulin was increased (P<0.05) by DEX treatment at feeding, whereas IGF1 was decreased (P<0.05). The expression of genes in the IGF1, myostatin, and UB-proteasome (UBP) pathways were altered by DEX treatment in age- and exposure time-related ways. These results suggest that GCs suppress IGF1 and upregulate myostatin and/or activated myostatin and the UBP pathway, which might be the source of the effect of GCs on muscle development.