Axon and muscle spindle hyperplasia in the myostatin null mouse


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Abstract

Germline deletion of the myostatin gene results in hyperplasia and hypertrophy of the tension-generating (extrafusal) fibres in skeletal muscle. As this gene is expressed predominantly in myogenic tissues it offers an excellent model with which to investigate the quantitative relationship between muscle and axonal development. Here we show that skeletal muscle hyperplasia in myostatin null mouse is accompanied by an increase in nerve fibres in major nerves of both the fore- and hindlimbs. We show that axons within these nerves undergo hypertrophy. Furthermore, we provide evidence that the age-related neural atrophic process is delayed in the absence of myostatin. Finally, we show that skeletal muscle hyperplasia in the myostatin null mouse is accompanied by an increase in the number of muscle spindles (also called stretch receptors or proprioceptors). However, our work demonstrates that the mechanisms regulating intrafusal fibre hyperplasia and hypertrophy differ from those that control the aetiology of extrafusal fibres.

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