Researchers have been particularly interested in a muscle system protein known as myostatin (MSN) because it is a potential therapeutic target for patients with muscle disease. Although scientists have learned a lot about how MSN affects muscle growth, they have not reached a consensus on which muscle cells it works on. In a new study, a team of researchers, including researchers Chen Ming Fan and Christoph Lepper of the Carnegie institution of science in the United States, narrowed the field to a possible type of muscle cell. Their findings were published online in the journal PNAS on August 6, 2012.
MSN(Click here to buy myostatin protein peptides for sale) is known to inhibit muscle growth, and its effects are the same in many mammals, including cows, sheep, dogs, humans, and mice. In mutant mice without MSN, muscle mass was almost twice that of normal mice. This property makes it an attractive potential drug target.
However, scientists have always had great disagreements on which type of muscle cells MSN acts on: is the muscle cells called muscle fibers, or muscle stem cells called satellite cells. Some people seem to think MSN works on satellite cells, while others think MSN works on muscle fibers.
To this end, researchers use a variety of techniques - genetic and pharmacological methods - to carry out experiments and determine that the inhibition of MSN induced muscle growth is not significantly involved in the integration of satellite cells into the muscle fibers.
This finding has important implications for the potential use of MSN as a clinical target. The problem is how the drugs that target MSN play a role when the patient's satellite cells are exhausted. In muscular dystrophy, for example, in the initial stage of the disease, satellite cells are thought to be able to make up for the degenerated muscle cells, but over time, this disease can lead to the depletion of the muscle stem cell pool. This study suggests that MSN inhibitors may still be beneficial for patients with this disease.