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Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2011 Sep;301(3):R716-26. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00121.2011. Epub 2011 Jun 15.

Antibody-directed myostatin inhibition enhances muscle mass and function in tumor-bearing mice.

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  • 1Basic and Clinical Myology Laboratory, Department of Physiology, The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


Cancer cachexia describes the progressive skeletal muscle wasting and weakness in many cancer patients and accounts for >20% of cancer-related deaths. We tested the hypothesis that antibody-directed myostatin inhibition would attenuate the atrophy and loss of function in muscles of tumor-bearing mice. Twelve-week-old C57BL/6 mice received a subcutaneous injection of saline (control) or Lewis lung carcinoma (LLC) tumor cells. One week later, mice received either once weekly injections of saline (control, n = 12; LLC, n = 9) or a mouse chimera of anti-human myostatin antibody (PF-354, 10 mg·kg⁻¹·wk⁻¹, LLC+PF-354, n = 11) for 5 wk. Injection of LLC cells reduced muscle mass and maximum force of tibialis anterior (TA) muscles by 8-10% (P < 0.05), but the muscle atrophy and weakness were prevented with PF-354 treatment (P > 0.05). Maximum specific (normalized) force of diaphragm muscle strips was reduced with LLC injection (P < 0.05) but was not improved with PF-354 treatment (P > 0.05). PF-354 enhanced activity of oxidative enzymes in TA and diaphragm muscles of tumor-bearing mice by 118% and 89%, respectively (P < 0.05). Compared with controls, apoptosis that was not of myofibrillar or satellite cell origin was 140% higher in TA muscle cross sections from saline-treated LLC tumor-bearing mice (P < 0.05) but was not different in PF-354-treated tumor-bearing mice (P > 0.05). Antibody-directed myostatin inhibition attenuated the skeletal muscle atrophy and loss of muscle force-producing capacity in a murine model of cancer cachexia, in part by reducing apoptosis. The improvements in limb muscle mass and function highlight the therapeutic potential of antibody-directed myostatin inhibition for cancer cachexia.

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