UMMS Affiliation

Program in Molecular Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Amino Acids, Peptides, and Proteins | Biochemical Phenomena, Metabolism, and Nutrition | Cellular and Molecular Physiology | Endocrinology | Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism | Hormones, Hormone Substitutes, and Hormone Antagonists | Physiological Processes


Insulin resistance is associated with aging in mice and humans. We have previously shown that administration of recombinant GDF11 (rGDF11) to aged mice alters aging phenotypes in the brain, skeletal muscle, and heart. While the closely related protein GDF8 has a role in metabolism, limited data are available on the potential metabolic effects of GDF11 or GDF8 in aging. To determine the metabolic effects of these two ligands, we administered rGDF11 or rGDF8 protein to young or aged mice fed a standard chow diet, short-term high-fat diet (HFD), or long-term HFD. Under nearly all of these diet conditions, administration of exogenous rGDF11 reduced body weight by 3-17% and significantly improved glucose tolerance in aged mice fed a chow (~30% vs. saline) or HF (~50% vs. saline) diet and young mice fed a HFD (~30%). On the other hand, exogenous rGDF8 showed signifcantly lesser effect or no effect at all on glucose tolerance compared to rGDF11, consistent with data demonstrating that GFD11 is a more potent signaling ligand than GDF8. Collectively, our results show that administration of exogenous rGDF11, but not rGDF8, can reduce diet-induced weight gain and improve metabolic homeostasis.


Obesity, Transforming growth factor beta

Rights and Permissions

© The Author(s) 2020. Open Access: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit

DOI of Published Version



Walker RG, Barrandon O, Poggioli T, Dagdeviren S, Carroll SH, Mills MJ, Mendello KR, Gomez Y, Loffredo FS, Pancoast JR, Macias-Trevino C, Marts C, LeClair KB, Noh HL, Kim T, Banks AS, Kim JK, Cohen DE, Wagers AJ, Melton DA, Lee RT. Exogenous GDF11, but not GDF8, reduces body weight and improves glucose homeostasis in mice. Sci Rep. 2020 Mar 12;10(1):4561. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-61443-y. PMID: 32165710; PMCID: PMC7067781. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Scientific reports


Full author list omitted for brevity. For the full list of authors, see article.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.