Molecules 2015 May 7;20(5):8242-69. Epub 2015 May 7.
Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Mitochondrial dysfunction and inflammation are widely accepted as key hallmarks of obesity-induced skeletal muscle insulin resistance. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the functional roles of an anti-inflammatory compound, celastrol, in mitochondrial dysfunction and insulin resistance induced by antimycin A (AMA) in human skeletal muscle cells. We found that celastrol treatment improved insulin-stimulated glucose uptake activity of AMA-treated cells, apparently via PI3K/Akt pathways, with significant enhancement of mitochondrial activities. Furthermore, celastrol prevented increased levels of cellular oxidative damage where the production of several pro-inflammatory cytokines in cultures cells was greatly reduced. Celastrol significantly increased protein phosphorylation of insulin signaling cascades with amplified expression of AMPK protein and attenuated NF-κB and PKC θ activation in human skeletal muscle treated with AMA. The improvement of insulin signaling pathways by celastrol was also accompanied by augmented GLUT4 protein expression. Taken together, these results suggest that celastrol may be advocated for use as a potential therapeutic molecule to protect against mitochondrial dysfunction-induced insulin resistance in human skeletal muscle cells.