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Follistatin-344: Research in Muscle Regeneration
Follistatin 344 – Myostatin Interplay
Myostatin is a peptide released by the muscle cells (called myocytes). It belongs to the Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β). Myostatin inhibits the growth and differentiation of muscle cells. It can also lead to muscle fibrosis and shrinkage of organs such as the heart.
Follistatin is a protein that naturally exists in the body. Follistatin 344 is a synthetic version of the naturally occurring protein. The main action of Follistatin-344 is to antagonize the function of TGF-β. The TGF-β family comprises Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), myostatin, and activin. In addition to inhibiting the TGF-β, Follistatin 344 parts by acting on the IGF-1/Insulin pathway.
The Possible Research Implications
Follistatin 344 has been used in several research studies:
1. Role in Muscle Growth
As mentioned, myostatin functions to reduce muscle mass. It is a member of the TGF-1 family and inhibits the growth and differentiation of muscle fibers. Studies have suggested that follistatin 344 has potent anti-myostatin action.
Researchers investigated the effects of knocking out myostatin in mice. They found that mice who lacked myostatin had greater muscle mass. In another research, scientists studied administering Follistatin 344 on muscle mass in mice. Results showed that the administration of Follistatin 344 without any other muscle-building factor led to a remarkable increase in muscle mass.
Follistatin 344 increases muscle bulk by engaging two main mechanisms: hypertrophy and hyperplasia. Hypertrophy results in an increase in the size of individual muscle cells. Hyperplasia increases the number of muscle fibers.
Another therapeutic benefit of Follistatin 344 is its ability to reduce the inflammation and fibrosis of muscle fibers. An increase in muscle inflammation and early fibrosis is the critical pathology in conditions such as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Research has suggested that Follistatin 344 can have potent and lasting effects on muscle growth.
2. Effects on Diabetes Mellitus
Type 1 diabetes results from a reduced expression of insulin-secreting beta-pancreatic cells. It results in reduced insulin secretion and poor glucose metabolism. Follistatin 344 in research models led to an increase in beta-pancreatic cells. Using Follistatin 344 in animal models led to an incredible rise in the life expectancy of the mice. It also led to a remarkable reduction in diabetes-related micro or macrovascular complications.
3. Role in Breast Cancer
Researchers have studied the effects and levels of Follistatin in females with breast cancer. Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) checks the peptide levels. The results were primarily taken from females with under-expressed Follistatin, and it showed only a few had normal or higher levels of Follistatin. Researchers further noticed that higher levels of Follistatin were associated with a lower incidence of disease metastasis and better prognosis.
4. Effects on Esophageal and Liver Cancer
Barrett’s esophagus is a premalignant condition. It involves transforming cells in the lower esophagus from squamous to columnar type. Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP) is the primary culprit behind the metaplasia of the esophagus. Frequent acid reflux leads to excessive activation of BMP and cancer development. Research suggests Follistatin counteracts the action of BMP and can prevent the development of esophageal cancer.
Liver fibrosis is a condition that predisposes the development of hepatocellular carcinoma. Follistatin can cause a significant improvement in the lifespan of liver cells (hepatocytes). It can also reduce the risk of liver fibrosis by 32%. This action leads to a reduction in the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma. It can also have implications in conditions such as liver fibrosis secondary to fatty liver disease or alcohol abuse.
Disclaimer: The products mentioned are not intended for human or animal consumption. Research chemicals are intended solely for laboratory experimentation and/or in-vitro testing. Bodily introduction of any sort is strictly prohibited by law. All purchases are limited to licensed researchers and/or qualified professionals. All information shared in this article is for educational purposes only.
Dr. Usman (BSc, MBBS, MaRCP) completed his studies in medicine at the Royal College of Physicians, London. He is an avid researcher with more than 30 publications in internationally recognized peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Usman has worked as a researcher and a medical consultant for reputable pharmaceutical companies such as Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi.