Activin-type II receptor B (ACVR2B) and follistatin haplotype associations with muscle mass and strength in humans

Sean Walsh, E. Jeffrey Metter, Luigi Ferrucci, Stephen M. Roth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Genetic variation in myostatin, a negative regulator of skeletal muscle, in cattle has shown remarkable influence on skeletal muscle, resulting in a double-muscled phenotype in certain breeds; however, DNA sequence variation within this gene in humans has not been consistently associated with skeletal muscle mass or strength. Follistatin and activin-type II receptor B (ACVR2B) are two myostatin-related genes involved in the regulation and signaling of myostatin. We sought to identify associations between genetic variation and haplotype structure in both follistatin and ACVR2B with skeletal muscle-related phenotypes. Three hundred fifteen men and 278 women aged 19-90 yr from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging were genotyped to determine respective haplotype groupings (Hap Groups) based on HapMap data. Whole body soft tissue composition was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Quadriceps peak torque (strength) was measured using an isokinetic dynamometer. Women carriers of ACVR2B Hap Group 1 exhibited significantly less quadriceps muscle strength (shortening phase) than women homozygous for Hap Group 2 (109.2 ± 1.9 vs. 118.6 ± 4.1 N·m, 30° /s, respectively, P = 0.036). No significant association was observed in men. Male carriers of follistatin Hap Group 3 exhibited significantly less total leg fat-free mass than noncarriers (16.6 ± 0.3 vs. 17.5 ± 0.2 kg, respectively, P = 0.012). No significant associations between these haplotype groups were observed in women. These results indicate that haplotype structure at the ACVR2B and follistatin loci may contribute to interindividual variation in skeletal muscle mass and strength, although these data indicate sex-specific relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2142-2148
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Genetics
  • Sex
  • Skeletal muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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