Myostatin and plasticity of skeletal muscle tissue


  • Valentina Pagliara Parthenope University, Italy
  • Rosarita Nasso Parthenope University, Italy
  • Antonio Ascione Parthenope University, Italy
  • Mariorosario Masullo Parthenope University, Italy
  • Rosaria Arcone Parthenope University, Italy


Myostatin, Skeletal muscle plasticity, Myokines, Physical activity


Skeletal muscle is an extremely plastic tissue for its ability to respond to different stimuli such as physiological variation and external stress. Muscle hypertrophy involves an increase in muscle mass, changes in myofibril composition and adaptation of metabolic pathways. Plasticity of skeletal muscle in response to exercise training is also caused by proliferation and differentiation of the satellite muscle stem cells in response to various growth and differentiation factors. This process is mainly mediated by myokines secreted during skeletal muscle contraction. Myokines are proteins that act as hormones both locally in the muscle and/or in an endocrine manner in other organs, mainly liver, brain and adipose tissue. Myostatin, known as growth differentiation factor-8, a myokine member of transforming growth factor-b (TGF-b) superfamily, can act on muscle cells in an autocrine manner leading to inhibition of muscle myogenesis. Muscle myostatin expression and its plasma concentration are downregulated after acute and long-term physical exercise thus allowing muscle hypertrophy. In addition, myostatin is correlated to obesity and insulin resistance for its ability to affect energy metabolism and insulin-sensitivity in muscle cells, respectively. These findings reveal that myostatin may have potential therapeutic applications to treat muscle atrophy diseases in humans. Even in sports, drugs able to inhibit myostatin expression can lead athletes to increase their sport performance. Here, we present a brief overview of myostatin and its role in biological mechanisms involved in exercise-induced plasticity of skeletal muscle.


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Pagliara, V., Nasso, R., Ascione, A., Masullo, M., & Arcone, R. (2019). Myostatin and plasticity of skeletal muscle tissue. Journal of Human Sport and Exercise, 14(5proc), S1931-S1937. Retrieved from

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