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Neurobiol Dis. 2006 Sep;23(3):697-707. Epub 2006 Jul 11.

Myostatin inhibition slows muscle atrophy in rodent models of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

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Department of Physiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, D400 Richards Building, 3700 Hamilton Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6085, USA.


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an incurable neurodegenerative disease leading to motor neuron cell death, but recent studies suggest that non-neuronal cells may contribute to the pathological mechanisms involved. Myostatin is a negative regulator of muscle growth whose function can be inhibited using neutralizing antibodies. In this study, we used transgenic mouse and rat models of ALS to test whether treatment with anti-myostatin antibody slows muscle atrophy, motor neuron loss, or disease onset and progression. Significant increases in muscle mass and strength were observed in myostatin-antibody-treated SOD1(G93A) mice and rats prior to disease onset and during early-stage disease. By late stage disease, only diaphragm muscle remained significantly different in treated animals in comparison to untreated controls. Myostatin inhibition did not delay disease onset nor extend survival in either the SOD1(G93A) mouse or rat. Together, these results indicate that inhibition of myostatin does not protect against the onset and progression of motor neuron degenerative disease. However, the preservation of skeletal muscle during early-stage disease and improved diaphragm morphology and function maintained through late stage disease suggest that anti-myostatin therapy may promote some improved muscle function in ALS.

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