Guilu Erxian Jiao (GEJ) is a commonly used nutritional supplement due to its rich content of amino acids. It is also a traditional herbal medicine for improving degenerative joint. This study aimed to investigate the effect and mechanism of GEJ water extract (GEJ-WE) on skeletal muscle in C2C12 myotubes and C57BL/6J mice. Analysis of GEJ-WE were performed by high-performance liquid chromatography fingerprinting with chemical standards. Protein expression, mRNA level, glycogen content, mitochondria activity and ATP level were evaluated by western blots, real-time PCR, PAS staining, MTT and ATP bioluminescence assay, respectively. Skeletal muscle strength was evaluated by grip strength. Skeletal muscle volume, mass and fiber types were evaluated by micro computed tomography, histological analysis and immunofluorescence staining, respectively. Motor function was evaluated by rotarod performance and locomotor activity. In C2C12 myotubes, GEJ-WE significantly enhanced myogenic differentiation and myotube growth, protein synthesis signaling IGF-1/IGF-1R/IRS-1/Akt, Glut4 translocation, glycogen content, mitochondrial biogenesis signaling PGC-1a/NRF1/TFAM, mitochondrial activity and ATP production. However, IGF-1R antagonist AG1024 and PI3K inhibitor wortmannin reduced GEJ-WE-induced protein expression of MyHC, p-Akt, p-mTOR and p-GSK-3b, Glut4 translocation and glycogen content. In C57BL/6J mice, GEJ-WE not only upregulated protein synthesis and mitochondrial biogenesis signaling, but it also increased muscle volume, relative muscle weight, cross-sectional area of myofibers, glycogen content and transition of fast-to-slow type fibers of skeletal muscles. Moreover, GEJ-WE enhanced grip strength and motor activity of mice. In conclusion, the upregulation of protein synthesis, myogenic differentiation, glucose homeostasis, mitochondrial biogenesis and slow-twitch fibers contributes to the mechanisms of GEJ-WE on the enhancement of skeletal muscle mass and motor function.

Abstract Image

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.