Enobosarm (GTx-024) modulates adult skeletal muscle mass independently of the androgen receptor in the satellite cell lineage

Vanessa Dubois, Ioannis Simitsidellis, Michael R Laurent, Ferran Jardi, Philippa Saunders, Dirk Vanderschueren, Frank Claessens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Androgens increase skeletal muscle mass, but their clinical use is hampered by lack of tissue selectivity and subsequent side-effects. Selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) elicit muscle-anabolic effects while only sparingly affecting reproductive tissues. The SARM GTx-024 (enobosarm) is being investigated for cancer cachexia, sarcopenia, and muscle wasting diseases. Here,
we investigate the role of muscle androgen receptor (AR) in the anabolic effect of GTx-024. In mice lacking AR in the satellite cell lineage (satARKO), the weight of the androgen-sensitive levator ani muscle was lower, but decreased further upon orchidectomy. GTx-024 was as effective as dihydrotestosterone
(DHT) in restoring levator ani weights to sham levels. Expression of the musclespecific androgen-responsive genes S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase and myostatin was decreased by orchidectomy and restored by GTx-024 and DHT in control mice, while expression was low and unaffected by androgen status in satARKO. In contrast, insulin-like growth factor IEa
expression was not different between satARKO and control muscle, decreased upon castration, and was restored by DHT and GTx-024 in both genotypes. These data indicate that GTx-024 does not selectively modulate AR in the satellite cell lineage and that cells outside this lineage remain androgen-responsive in satARKO muscle. Indeed, residual AR positive cells were present in satARKO muscle, coexpressing the fibroblast-lineage marker vimentin. AR positive, muscle-resident fibroblasts could therefore be involved in the indirect effects of androgens on muscle. In conclusion, both DHT and GTx-024 target AR pathways in the satellite cell lineage, but cells outside this lineage also contribute to the anabolic effects of androgens.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sep 2015

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