Quantification of GDF11 and Myostatin in Human Aging and Cardiovascular Disease

Marissa J. Schafer, Elizabeth J. Atkinson, Patrick M. Vanderboom, Brian Kotajarvi, Thomas A. White, Matthew M. Moore, Charles J. Bruce, Kevin L. Greason, Rakesh M. Suri, Sundeep Khosla, Jordan D. Miller, H. Robert Bergen, Nathan K. LeBrasseur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations


Growth and differentiation factor 11 (GDF11) is a transforming growth factor β superfamily member with a controversial role in aging processes. We have developed a highly specific LC-MS/MS assay to quantify GDF11, resolved from its homolog, myostatin (MSTN), based on unique amino acid sequence features. Here, we demonstrate that MSTN, but not GDF11, declines in healthy men throughout aging. Neither GDF11 nor MSTN levels differ as a function of age in healthy women. In an independent cohort of older adults with severe aortic stenosis, we show that individuals with higher GDF11 were more likely to be frail and have diabetes or prior cardiac conditions. Following valve replacement surgery, higher GDF11 at surgical baseline was associated with rehospitalization and multiple adverse events. Cumulatively, our results show that GDF11 levels do not decline throughout aging but are associated with comorbidity, frailty, and greater operative risk in older adults with cardiovascular disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1207-1215
Number of pages9
JournalCell Metabolism
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 14 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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