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Endocrinology. 2016 Jan;157(1):282-91. doi: 10.1210/en.2015-1546. Epub 2015 Nov 18.

Myostatin Attenuation In Vivo Reduces Adiposity, but Activates Adipogenesis.

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Department of Animal Sciences (N.L., Q.Y., M.D., B.D.R.), Washington Center for Muscle Biology, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington 99164-7620; and Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Microbiology (R.G.W., T.B.T.), University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio 45267-0524.


A potentially novel approach for treating obesity includes attenuating myostatin as this increases muscle mass and decreases fat mass. Notwithstanding, conflicting studies report that myostatin stimulates or inhibits adipogenesis and it is unknown whether reduced adiposity with myostatin attenuation results from changes in fat deposition or adipogenesis. We therefore quantified changes in the stem, transit amplifying and progenitor cell pool in white adipose tissue (WAT) and brown adipose tissue (BAT) using label-retaining wild-type and mstn(-/-) (Jekyll) mice. Muscle mass was larger in Jekyll mice, WAT and BAT mass was smaller and label induction was equal in all tissues from both wild-type and Jekyll mice. The number of label-retaining cells, however, dissipated quicker in WAT and BAT of Jekyll mice and was only 25% and 17%, respectively, of wild-type cell counts 1 month after induction. Adipose cell density was significantly higher in Jekyll mice and increased over time concomitant with label-retaining cell disappearance, which is consistent with enhanced expansion and differentiation of the stem, transit amplifying and progenitor pool. Stromal vascular cells from Jekyll WAT and BAT differentiated into mature adipocytes at a faster rate than wild-type cells and although Jekyll WAT cells also proliferated quicker in vitro, those from BAT did not. Differentiation marker expression in vitro, however, suggests that mstn(-/-) BAT preadipocytes are far more sensitive to the suppressive effects of myostatin. These results suggest that myostatin attenuation stimulates adipogenesis in vivo and that the reduced adiposity in mstn(-/-) animals results from nutrient partitioning away from fat and in support of muscle.

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