• autoimmunity;
  • DNA vaccine;
  • myostatin;
  • T-helper epitope


Myostatin is a transforming growth factor-β family member that acts as a negative regulator of skeletal muscle growth. In mice, genetic disruption of the myostatin gene leads to a marked increase in body weight and muscle mass. Similarly, pharmacological interference with myostatin in vivo in mdx knockout mice results in a functional improvement of the dystrophic phenotype. Consequently, myostatin is an important therapeutic target for treatment of diseases associated with muscle wasting. To construct a therapeutic DNA vaccine against myostatin, we coupled the foreign, immunodominant T-helper epitope of tetanus toxin to the N terminus of myostatin, and BALB/c mice were immunized with the recombinant vector. Sera from vaccinated mice showed the presence of specific antibodies against the recombinant protein. In addition, body weight, muscle mass, and grip endurance of vaccinated mice were significantly increased. Our study provides a novel, pharmacological strategy for treatment of diseases associated with muscle wasting. Muscle Nerve, 2007