Myostatin, also known as Growth and Differentiation Factor-8 (GDF-8), is a negative regulator of muscle growth . Moreover, myostatin is expressed in various muscles in early developing humans and adults . Myostatin is considered a myokine. When skeletal muscle contracts it produces and releases cytokines along with other peptides called myokines . Furthermore, myostatin was first described as a myokine in 1977 by Se-Jin Lee, and along with being expressed in skeletal muscle is also expressed in cardiac muscle and fat tissue .
Myostatin has been heralded as a candidate negative regulator harbours the potential to treat muscle atrophic disorders . Muscular dystrophy is known as a group of muscle diseases which eventually results in a progressive deterioration of muscle strength and function . Moreover, muscular dystrophy is a serious global issue which has attracted potential drug candidates to inhibit the progressively detrimental effects that it brings on in those suffering from it.
Figure 1. Binding of Myostatin (GDF-8) results in an eventual protein degradation step which also contributes to muscle wasting cachexia .
How it works
Myostatin (GDF-8) inhibits muscle mass, and interruption of this gene has shown to result in a great deal of skeletal muscle growth . The main area in which myostatin is expressed is in skeletal muscle; inactivation of myostatin in this instance produces an increase in muscle mass in many animal species . Work using Myostatin knock-out mice – experiments where myostatin is rendered inactive – showed that these mice exhibited muscles around 2 to 3 times larger than mice which carried the normal Myostatin gene .