Muscle and serum myostatin expression in type 1 diabetes

Athan G. Dial, Cynthia M.F. Monaco, Grace K. Grafham, Nadya Romanova, Jeremy A. Simpson, Mark A. Tarnopolsky, Christopher G.R. Perry, Evangelia Kalaitzoglou, Thomas J. Hawke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Type 1 diabetes (T1D) has been reported to negatively affect the health of skeletal muscle, though the underlying mechanisms are unknown. Myostatin, a myokine whose increased expression is associated with muscle-wasting diseases, has not been reported in humans with T1D but has been demonstrated to be elevated in preclinical diabetes models. Thus, the purpose of this study was to determine if there is an elevated expression of myostatin in the serum and skeletal muscle of persons with T1D compared to controls. Secondarily, we aimed to explore relationships between myostatin expression and clinically important metrics (e.g., HbA1c, strength, lean mass) in women and men with (N = 31)/without T1D (N = 24) between 18 and 72 years old. Body composition, baseline strength, blood sample and vastus lateralis muscle biopsy were evaluated. Serum, but not muscle, myostatin expression was significantly elevated in those with T1D versus controls, and to a greater degree in T1D women than T1D men. Serum myostatin levels were not significantly associated with HbA1c nor disease duration. A significant correlation between serum myostatin expression and maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) and body fat mass was demonstrated in control subjects, but these correlations did not reach significance in those with T1D (MVC: R = 0.64 controls vs. R = 0.37 T1D; Body fat: R = −0.52 controls/R = −0.02 T1D). Collectively, serum myostatin was correlated with lean mass (R = 0.45), and while this trend was noted in both groups separately, neither reached statistical significance (R = 0.47 controls/R = 0.33 T1D). Overall, while those with T1D exhibited elevated serum myostatin levels (particularly females) myostatin expression was not correlated with clinically relevant metrics despite some of these relationships existing in controls (e.g., lean/fat mass). Future studies will be needed to fully understand the mechanisms underlying increased myostatin in T1D, with relationships to insulin dosing being particularly important to elucidate.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14500
JournalPhysiological Reports
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors. Physiological Reports published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of The Physiological Society and the American Physiological Society.


  • GDF-8
  • T1D
  • TGF-family members
  • myostatin
  • skeletal muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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