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Investigating mechanisms underpinning the detrimental impact of a high-fat diet in the developing and adult hypermuscular myostatin null mouse

Matsakas, Antonios; Prosdocimo, Domenick A.; Mitchell, Robert; Collins-Hooper, Henry; Giallourou, Natasa; Swann, Jonathan R.; Potter, Paul; Epting, Thomas; Jain, Mukesh K.; Patel, Ketan


Domenick A. Prosdocimo

Robert Mitchell

Henry Collins-Hooper

Natasa Giallourou

Jonathan R. Swann

Paul Potter

Thomas Epting

Mukesh K. Jain

Ketan Patel


© 2015 Matsakas et al. Background: Obese adults are prone to develop metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. Furthermore, over-weight expectant mothers give birth to large babies who also have increased likelihood of developing metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. Fundamental advancements to better understand the pathophysiology of obesity are critical in the development of anti-obesity therapies not only for this but also future generations. Skeletal muscle plays a major role in fat metabolism and much work has focused in promoting this activity in order to control the development of obesity. Research has evaluated myostatin inhibition as a strategy to prevent the development of obesity and concluded in some cases that it offers a protective mechanism against a high-fat diet. Methods: Pregnant as well as virgin myostatin null mice and age matched wild type animals were raised on a high fat diet for up to 10 weeks. The effect of the diet was tested on skeletal muscle, liver and fat. Quantitate PCR, Western blotting, immunohistochemistry, in-vivo and ex-vivo muscle characterisation, metabonomic and lipidomic measurements were from the four major cohorts. Results: We hypothesised that myostatin inhibition should protect not only the mother but also its developing foetus from the detrimental effects of a high-fat diet. Unexpectedly, we found muscle development was attenuated in the foetus of myostatin null mice raised on a high-fat diet. We therefore re-examined the effect of the high-fat diet on adults and found myostatin null mice were more susceptible to diet-induced obesity through a mechanism involving impairment of inter-organ fat utilization. Conclusions: Loss of myostatin alters fatty acid uptake and oxidation in skeletal muscle and liver. We show that abnormally high metabolic activity of fat in myostatin null mice is decreased by a high-fat diet resulting in excessive adipose deposition and lipotoxicity. Collectively, our genetic loss-of-function studies offer an explanation of the lean phenotype displayed by a host of animals lacking myostatin signalling.


Matsakas, A., Prosdocimo, D. A., Mitchell, R., Collins-Hooper, H., Giallourou, N., Swann, J. R., …Patel, K. (2015). Investigating mechanisms underpinning the detrimental impact of a high-fat diet in the developing and adult hypermuscular myostatin null mouse. Skeletal muscle, 5(1), Article 38.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 23, 2015
Online Publication Date Dec 7, 2015
Publication Date Dec 7, 2015
Deposit Date Dec 22, 2015
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2017
Journal Skeletal muscle
Print ISSN 2044-5040
Electronic ISSN 2044-5040
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 5
Issue 1
Article Number 38
Keywords Muscle; Obesity; High-fat diet; Metabolism; Myostatin
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Copy of article first published in: Skeletal muscle, 2015, v.5, article number 38.


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Copyright Statement
© 2015 Matsakas et al. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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