Biomed Pharmacother 2017 Sep 14;93:903-912. Epub 2017 Jul 14.
Bioprocess Technology Division, School of Industrial Technology, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Gelugor, Penang, Malaysia.
Compelling evidences posited that high level of saturated fatty acid gives rise to mitochondrial dysfunction and inflammation in the development of insulin resistance in skeletal muscle. Celastrol is a pentacyclic triterpenoid derived from the root extracts of Tripterygium wilfordii that possesses potent anti-inflammatory properties in a number of animal models with metabolic diseases. However, the cellular mechanistic action of celastrol in alleviating obesity-induced insulin resistance in skeletal muscle remains largely unknown. Therefore, the present investigation evaluated the attributive properties of celastrol at different concentrations (10, 20, 30 and 40nM) on insulin resistance in C2C12 myotubes evoked by palmitate. We demonstrated that celastrol improved mitochondrial functions through significant enhancement of intracellular ATP content, mitochondrial membrane potential, citrate synthase activity and decrease of mitochondrial superoxide productions. Meanwhile, augmented mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content with suppressed DNA oxidative damage were observed following celastrol treatment. Celastrol significantly enhanced fatty acid oxidation rate and increased the level of tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle intermediates in palmitate-treated cells. Further analysis revealed that the improvement of glucose uptake activity in palmitate-loaded myotubes was partly mediated by celastrol via activation of PI3K-Akt insulin signaling pathway. Collectively, these findings provided evidence for the first time that the protection from palmitate-mediated insulin resistance in C2C12 myotubes by celastrol is likely associated with the improvement of mitochondrial functions-related metabolic activities.