GH and IGF-I are potent regulators of muscle growth and function. Although IGF-I is known to mediate many of the effects of GH, it is not yet clear whether all effects of GH are completely dependent on the IGF-I system. To evaluate the biological effects of the GH/IGF-I axis on muscle growth, we administrated recombinant human GH to mice, which lack IGF-I function specifically in skeletal muscle, due to the overexpression of a dominant-negative IGF-I receptor in this tissue (MKR mice). GH treatment significantly increased the levels of hepatic IGF-I mRNA and serum IGF-I levels in both wild-type (WT) and MKR mice. These GH-induced effects were paralleled by increases in body weight and in the weights of most GH-responsive organs in both groups of mice. Interestingly, unlike WT mice, GH treatment had no effect on skeletal muscle weight in MKR mice. GH treatment failed to reverse the impaired muscle function in MKR mice. Furthermore, MKR mice exhibited no effects of GH on the cross-sectional area of myofibers and the proliferation of satellite cells. Taken together, these data suggest that the in vivo effects of GH on muscle mass and strength are primarily mediated by activation of the IGF-I receptor.
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