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Domest Anim Endocrinol. 1999 Oct;17(2-3):191-7.

Growth factors controlling muscle development.

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Growth and Meat Science, AgResearch, Ruakura, Hamilton, New Zealand.


The enlarged muscles of certain breeds of cattle, such as the Belgian Blue, have been shown to result from a marked increase in the number of normal sized muscle fibers. Originally insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) were implicated in this myofiber hyperplasia, as IGFs have been shown to stimulate myoblast proliferation as well as maintain fiber differentiation. Recently it has been reported that mice lacking a myostatin gene, a member of the TGFbeta superfamily, have enhanced skeletal mass resulting from increased muscle fiber number and size. Mutations in this gene have been found in double-muscled cattle, indicating that myostatin is an inhibitor of muscle growth. Myostatin is expressed early in gestation and then maintained to adulthood in certain muscles. Myostatin expression in bovine muscle is highest during gestation when muscle fibers are forming and some of the myogenic regulatory factors have elevated expression over the same period as myostatin. Molecular expression of the IGF axis does not differ between Belgian Blue and normal muscled cattle, and IGF-II mRNA is increased throughout formation of secondary fibers in both breeds. However, myostatin and MyoD expression in muscle differ between normal and hypertrophied muscle cattle breeds. This evidence strongly suggests that lack of myostatin is associated with an increase in fiber number which then results in a marked increase in potential muscle mass in double-muscled cattle.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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