The protein O-linked β-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) modification plays an important role in skeletal muscle development and physiological function. In this study, bitransgenic mice were generated that overexpressed NCOATGK, an O-GlcNAcase-inactive spliced variant of the O-GlcNAcase gene, specifically in skeletal muscle using the muscle creatine kinase promoter. Expression of the chimeric enhanced green fluorescent protein-NCOAT GK transgene caused an increase of cellular O-GlcNAc levels, along with the accumulation and activation of proapoptotic factors in muscles of bitransgenic mice. The consequence of overexpressing the transgene for a 2-wk period was muscle atrophy and, in some cases, resulted in the death of male mice. Muscle atrophy is a common complication of many diseases, some of which correlate markedly with high cellular O-GlcNAc levels, such as diabetes. Our study provides direct evidence linking muscle atrophy and the disruption of O-GlcNAcase activity. Copyright © 2011 the American Physiological Society.