Interest in growing muscle mass is relevant to a lot of different applications. In research studies scientists have started working with a variety of proteins and hormones that may assist in building lean muscle tissue and possibility even allows muscle tissue to grow more than genetically coded for within a particular group of cells. Follistatin is one protein that is highlighted in several promising studies on mice.
Follistatin is a naturally occurring activin-binding protein that is produced in almost all the tissues of the body of higher order animals, including humans. Activin is a protein that is responsible for several different functions in the body including cell growth, proliferation, differentiation, metabolism, wound repair and immune response. Follistatin actually enhances the activin effectiveness in the body and providing a range of different functions.
Follistatin, like many other proteins, is produced in the anterior pituitary gland. It binds with activin to help control cell growth and differentiation and to prevent uncontrolled cell development. However, it is also acts as the opposite control to myostatin. In the cells myostatin actually limits cell growth and muscle tissue differentiation. By acting with opposite effects these two balance each other out but also limit muscle cell tissue growth and development in the checks and balances of hormonal control.
The Mouse and Monkey Studies
Researchers studying the balance of follistatin and myostatin experimented by increasing the amount of follistatin in mice, and then in 2009 in macaque monkeys. What the researchers found is that increasing the levels of follistatin present in the body led to increased muscle mass at significant levels. This was true in both mice and monkeys. In the monkey study researchers also measured the strength of the monkeys that were given follistatin and they were significantly stronger than the monkeys that were not provided the protein.
Ongoing research into the use of follistatin in muscle growth in animals is showing very positive results. It is also linked to increasing the life expectancy of animals that have spinal muscular dystrophy. It actually is increasing the core muscle groups and allowing normal body functions to continue for longer than animals not provided with the protein. Studies with mice and monkeys show positive results in using follistatin in building muscle cells that are stronger and more efficient.