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Res Vet Sci. 2008 Aug;85(1):86-91. Epub 2007 Nov 26.

Expression profile of myostatin mRNA during the embryonic organogenesis of domestic chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus).

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Disease Genetics and Biotechnology Laboratory, Central Avian Research Institute, Izatnagar 243122, Bareilly, India.


Myostatin is a potent growth and differentiation factor involved in skeletal muscle tissue formation in vertebrates. However, recent studies in chicken embryo suggested that the myostatin was expressed even before the establishment of myogenic lineage. No studies have thus far been reported in birds to define the role of myostatin during the embryonic organogenesis. The present experiment was designed for studying the expression profiles of myostatin mRNA in the chicken liver, heart, brain, and intestine during their morphogenesis, using real-time PCR. The myostatin mRNA expression was significantly upregulated in liver during E15-E18. Similar results were observed during the development of chicken heart. In brain, the expression of myostatin was upregulated from E4 onwards. In intestine, the expression of myostatin was significantly increased many folds on E9-E18. Therefore, the increase in myostatin expression might be related to the growth of liver and heart on days E12-E18; morphogenesis and growth of brain during E15-E18; and morphogenesis and differentiation of intestine during E9-E18. In the present study, the tissue-specific expression of myostatin gene in chicken is similar to fishes, but different from that in mammals. Further, the inspection of chicken genome also suggested that there is no differentiation of GDF-8 and -11. A recent finding suggests that the chicken myostatin gene is closely related to mammals than fishes. Therefore, we propose that the chicken myostatin gene might have diverged in its function between teleosts and mammals. Indeed it is possible that its function might have only become fully differentiated to serve as a control of muscle mass in mammals.

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