Study Title:

Curcumin induces mitochondrial biogenesis by increasing cyclic AMP levels via phosphodiesterase 4A inhibition in skeletal muscle.

Study Abstract

Background: Previous research has suggested that curcumin potentially induces mitochondrial biogenesis in skeletal muscle via increasing cyclic AMP (cAMP) levels. However, the regulatory mechanisms for this phenomenon remain unknown. The purpose of the present study was to clarify the mechanism by which curcumin activates cAMP-related signalling pathways that upregulate mitochondrial biogenesis and respiration in skeletal muscle.

Methods: The effect of curcumin treatment (i.p., 100 mg/kg-BW/d for 28 d) on mitochondrial biogenesis was determined in rats. The effects of curcumin and exercise (swimming for 2 h/d for 3 d) on the cAMP signalling pathway were determined in the absence and presence of phosphodiesterase (PDE) or protein kinase A (PKA) inhibitors. Mitochondrial respiration, citrate synthase (CS) activity, cAMP content and protein expression of cAMP/PKA signalling molecules were analysed.

Results: Curcumin administration increased cytochrome c oxidase subunit (COX-IV) protein expression, and CS and complex I activity, consistent with the induction of mitochondrial biogenesis by curcumin. Mitochondrial respiration was not altered by curcumin treatment. Curcumin and PDE inhibition tended to increase cAMP levels with or without exercise. In addition, exercise increased the phosphorylation of phosphodiesterase 4A (PDE4A), whereas curcumin treatment strongly inhibited PDE4A phosphorylation regardless of exercise. Furthermore, curcumin promoted AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) phosphorylation and PPAR gamma coactivator (PGC-1α) deacetylation. Inhibition of PKA abolished the phosphorylation of AMPK.

Conclusion: The present results suggest that curcumin increases cAMP levels via inhibition of PDE4A phosphorylation, which induces mitochondrial biogenesis through a cAMP/PKA/AMPK signalling pathway. Our data also suggest the possibility that curcumin utilises a regulatory mechanism for mitochondrial biogenesis that is distinct from the exercise-induced mechanism in skeletal muscle.

Study Information

Br J Nutr. 2021 Dec 14;126(11):1642-1650. doi: 10.1017/S0007114521000490. Epub 2021 Feb 8. PMID: 33551001.

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