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Gene Ther. 2017 Mar;24(3):167-175. doi: 10.1038/gt.2016.85. Epub 2016 Dec 16.

Adeno-associated virus-mediated expression of myostatin propeptide improves the growth of skeletal muscle and attenuates hyperglycemia in db/db mice.

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Departments of Internal Medicine and Gene Therapy Center, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, People's Republic of China.
Division of Molecular Pharmaceutics, Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.


Inhibition of myostatin, a negative growth modulator for muscle, can functionally enhance muscle mass and improve glucose and fat metabolism in myostatin propeptide (MPRO) transgenic mice. This study was to investigate whether myostatin inhibition by adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated gene delivery of MPRO could improve muscle mass and achieve therapeutic effects on glucose regulation and lipid metabolism in the db/db mice and the mechanisms involved in that process. Eight-week-old male db/db mice were administered saline, AAV-GFP and AAV-MPRO/Fc vectors and monitored random blood glucose levels and body weight for 36 weeks. Body weight gain was not different during follow-up among the groups, but AAV-MPRO/Fc vectors resulted high level of MPRO in the blood companied by an increase in skeletal muscle mass and muscle hypertrophy. In addition, AAV-MPRO/Fc-treated db/db mice showed significantly lower blood glucose and insulin levels and significantly increased glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity compared with the control groups (P<0.05). Moreover, these mice exhibited lower triglyceride (TG) and free fatty acid (FFA) content in the skeletal muscle, although no difference was observed in fat pad weights and serum TG and FFA levels. Finally, AAV-MPRO/Fc-treated mice had enhanced insulin signaling in the skeletal muscle. These data suggest that AAV-mediated MPRO therapy may provide an important clue for potential clinical applications to prevent type II diabetes, and these studies confirm that MPRO is a therapeutic target for type II diabetes.

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