Prolonged fasting and cortisol reduce myostatin mRNA levels in tilapia larvae; short-term fasting elevates

Buel D. Rodgers, Gregory M. Weber, Kevin M. Kelley, Michael A. Levine

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    66 Scopus citations


    Myostatin negatively regulates muscle growth and development and has recently been characterized in several fishes. We measured fasting myostatin mRNA levels in adult tilapia skeletal muscle and in whole larvae. Although fasting reduced some growth indexes in adults, skeletal muscle myostatin mRNA levels were unaffected. By contrast, larval myostatin mRNA levels were sometimes elevated after a short-term fast and were consistently reduced with prolonged fasting. These effects were specific for myostatin, as mRNA levels of glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase and glucose-6-phosphatase were unchanged. Cortisol levels were elevated in fasted larvae with reduced myostatin mRNA, whereas in addition immersion of larvae in 1 ppm (2.8 μM) cortisol reduced myostatin mRNA in a time-dependent fashion. These results suggest that larval myostatin mRNA levels may initially rise but ultimately fall during a prolonged fast. The reduction is likely mediated by fasting-induced hypercortisolemia, indicating divergent evolutionary mechanisms of glucocorticoid regulation of myostatin mRNA, since these steroids upregulate myostatin gene expression in mammals.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
    Issue number5 53-5
    StatePublished - May 1 2003


    • Growth/differentiating factor-8
    • Muscle growth and development
    • Oreochromis mossambicus

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Physiology


    Dive into the research topics of 'Prolonged fasting and cortisol reduce myostatin mRNA levels in tilapia larvae; short-term fasting elevates'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this