Evaluation of systemic follistatin as an adjuvant to stimulate muscle repair and improve motor function in Pompe mice

Mol Ther. 2010 Sep;18(9):1584-91. doi: 10.1038/mt.2010.110. Epub 2010 Jun 15.


Due to the lack of acid alpha-glucosidase (GAA) activity, Pompe mice develop glycogen storage pathology and progressive skeletal muscle dysfunction with age. Applying either gene or enzyme therapy to reconstitute GAA levels in older, symptomatic Pompe mice effectively reduces glycogen storage in skeletal muscle but provides only modest improvements in motor function. As strategies to stimulate muscle hypertrophy, such as by myostatin inhibition, have been shown to improve muscle pathology and strength in mouse models of muscular dystrophy, we sought to determine whether these benefits might be similarly realized in Pompe mice. Administration of a recombinant adeno-associated virus serotype 8 vector encoding follistatin, an inhibitor of myostatin, increased muscle mass and strength but only in Pompe mice that were treated before 10 months of age. Younger Pompe mice showed significant muscle fiber hypertrophy in response to treatment with follistatin, but maximal gains in muscle strength were achieved only when concomitant GAA administration reduced glycogen storage in the affected muscles. Despite increased grip strength, follistatin treatment failed to improve rotarod performance. These findings highlight the importance of treating Pompe skeletal muscle before pathology becomes irreversible, and suggest that adjunctive therapies may not be effective without first clearing skeletal muscle glycogen storage with GAA.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Mass Index
  • Dependovirus / genetics
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Follistatin / genetics
  • Follistatin / metabolism*
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics
  • Glycogen / metabolism*
  • Glycogen Storage Disease Type II / genetics
  • Glycogen Storage Disease Type II / metabolism
  • Glycogen Storage Disease Type II / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • alpha-Glucosidases / genetics
  • alpha-Glucosidases / metabolism


  • Follistatin
  • Glycogen
  • alpha-Glucosidases