Myostatin gene expression is reduced in humans with heavy-resistance strength training: a brief communication

Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2003 Jun;228(6):706-9. doi: 10.1177/153537020322800609.


This study examined changes in myostatin gene expression in response to strength training (ST). Fifteen young and older men (n = 7) and women (n = 8) completed a 9-week heavy-resistance unilateral knee extension ST program. Muscle biopsies were obtained from the dominant vastus lateralis before and after ST. In addition to myostatin mRNA levels, muscle volume and strength were measured. Total RNA was reverse transcribed into cDNA, and myostatin mRNA was quantified using quantitative PCR by standard fluorescent chemistries and was normalized to 18S rRNA levels. A 37% decrease in myostatin expression was observed in response to ST in all subjects combined (2.70 +/- 0.36 vs 1.69 +/- 0.18 U, arbitrary units; P < 0.05). Though the decline in myostatin expression was similar regardless of age or gender, the small number of subjects in these subgroups suggests that this observation needs to be confirmed. No significant correlations were observed between myostatin expression and any muscle strength or volume measure. Although further work is necessary to clarify the findings, these data demonstrate that myostatin mRNA levels are reduced in response to heavy-resistance ST in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biopsy
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Myostatin
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / biosynthesis*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / genetics


  • MSTN protein, human
  • Myostatin
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta