Change in the gastro-intestinal tract by overexpressed activin beta A

Mi Nyeu Kim, Young Il Kim, Chunghee Cho, Kelly E. Mayo, Byung Nam Cho*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Originally, activins were identified as stimulators of FSH release in reproduction. Other activities, including secondary axis formation in development, have since been revealed. Here, we investigated the influence of activin βA on the body, including the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract. Initially, the activin βAprotein was detected in the serum proportional to the amount of pCMV-rAct plasmid injected. The induced level of activin βA in muscle was higher in female than male mice. Subsequent results revealed that stomach and intestine were severely damaged in pCMVrAct- injected mice. At the cellular level, loss of parietal cells was observed, resulting in increased pH within the stomach. This phenomenon was more severe in male than female mice. Consistent with damage of the stomach and intestine, activin βA often led to necrosis in the tip of the tail or foot, and loss of body weight was observed in pCMVrAct- injected male but not female mice. Finally, in pCMVrAct- injected mice, circulating activin βA led to death at supraphysiological doses, and this was dependent on the strain of mice used. Taken together, these results indicate that activin βA has an important role outside of reproduction and development, specifically in digestion. These data also indicate that activin βA must be controlled within a narrow range because of latent lethal activity. In addition, our approach can be used effectively for functional analysis of secreted proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1079-1085
Number of pages7
JournalMolecules and Cells
Issue number12
StatePublished - Nov 24 2015


  • Activin
  • Digestion
  • Endocrine
  • Parietal cell
  • Stomach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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