Characterisation of connective tissue from the hypertrophic skeletal muscle of myostatin null mice


Ketan Patel, School of Biological Sciences, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6UB, UK. T: +44 (0) 118 378 8079; E:


Myostatin is a potent inhibitor of muscle development. Genetic deletion of myostatin in mice results in muscle mass increase, with muscles often weighing three times their normal values. Contracting muscle transfers tension to skeletal elements through an elaborate connective tissue network. Therefore, the connective tissue of skeletal muscle is an integral component of the contractile apparatus. Here we examine the connective tissue architecture in myostatin null muscle. We show that the hypertrophic muscle has decreased connective tissue content compared with wild-type muscle. Secondly, we show that the hypertrophic muscle fails to show the normal increase in muscle connective tissue content during ageing. Therefore, genetic deletion of myostatin results in an increase in contractile elements but a decrease in connective tissue content. We propose a model based on the contractile profile of muscle fibres that reconciles this apparent incompatible tissue composition phenotype.