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Dev Cell. 2004 May;6(5):673-84.

Deacetylase inhibitors increase muscle cell size by promoting myoblast recruitment and fusion through induction of follistatin.

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Muscle Gene Expression Group, Laboratory of Muscle Biology, NIAMS, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Fusion of undifferentiated myoblasts into multinucleated myotubes is a prerequisite for developmental myogenesis and postnatal muscle growth. We report that deacetylase inhibitors favor the recruitment and fusion of myoblasts into preformed myotubes. Muscle-restricted expression of follistatin is induced by deacetylase inhibitors and mediates myoblast recruitment and fusion into myotubes through a pathway distinct from those utilized by either IGF-1 or IL-4. Blockade of follistatin expression by RNAi-mediated knockdown, functional inactivation with either neutralizing antibodies or the antagonist protein myostatin, render myoblasts refractory to HDAC inhibitors. Muscles from animals treated with the HDAC inhibitor trichostatin A display increased production of follistatin and enhanced expression of markers of regeneration following muscle injury. These data identify follistatin as a central mediator of the fusigenic effects exerted by deacetylase inhibitors on skeletal muscles and establish a rationale for their use to manipulate skeletal myogenesis and promote muscle regeneration.

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