Recent studies show that myostatin mRNA expression is found in some regions of the brain. However, the functional significance of this is currently unknown. We therefore investigated myostatin expression and function in the brain. In this study, we used immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization, and RT-PCR analysis to reveal that myostatin is expressed in the mitral cells in the olfactory bulb (OB) and in neurons in the olfactory cortex (OC). Using 3D reconstruction, mitral cells positive for myostatin were positioned in the lateral and ventral regions of the OB. In contrast, myostatin-positive mitral cells were detected in mice at 2 weeks of age, but not on days 0 and 7 after birth. Activin receptor IIB, a myostatin receptor, was expressed in the OB, OC, hippocampus, and paraventricular thalamic nucleus. Moreover, c-Fos immunostaining in granule cells in the OB was augmented after intracerebroventricular injection of myostatin. These findings suggest that myostatin is localized in specific cells associated with the olfactory system of the brain and may act as a key inhibitor in cell and/or signal development of the olfactory system.
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