The effect of rate of weight reduction on serum myostatin and follistatin concentrations in competitive wrestlers

Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2015 Mar;10(2):139-46. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.2013-0475. Epub 2014 Jun 6.


Purpose: To evaluate anthropometric measures and serum markers of myostatin-pathway activity after different weight-reduction protocols in wrestlers.

Methods: Subjects were randomly assigned to a gradual-weight-reduction (GWR) or rapid-weight-reduction (RWR) group. Food logs were collected for the duration of the study. Anthropometric measurements and serum samples were collected after an 8-h fast at baseline and after the weight-reduction intervention. Subjects reduced body mass by 4%. The GWR group restricted calories over 12 d, while the RWR group restricted calories over 2 d. A series of 2×5 repeated-measures (RM) ANOVAs was conducted to examine differences in nutrient consumption, while separate 2×2 RM ANOVAs were conducted to examine differences in anthropometric measures and serum markers. When applicable, Tukey post hoc comparisons were conducted. Significance for all tests was set at P<.05.

Results: There were no between-groups differences for any anthropometric measure (P>.05). Subjects in both groups experienced a significant reduction in body mass, fat mass, lean mass, and percent body fat (P<.05). There were no between-groups differences in serum markers of myostatin-pathway activity (P>.05), but subjects in the RWR condition experienced a significant increase in serum myostatin (P<.01), a decrease in follistatin (P<.01), and an increase in myostatin-to-follistatin ratio (P<.001).

Conclusion: Although there were no between-groups differences for any outcome variables, the serum myostatin-to-follistatin ratio was significantly increased in the RWR group, possibly signaling the early stages of skeletal-muscle catabolism.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue
  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Caloric Restriction / methods*
  • Competitive Behavior / physiology
  • Diet Records
  • Follistatin / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Myostatin / blood*
  • Weight Loss*
  • Wrestling / physiology*
  • Young Adult


  • Follistatin
  • Myostatin