Main content area

An herbal formula consisting of Schisandra chinensis (Turcz.) Baill, Lycium chinense Mill and Eucommia ulmoides Oliv alleviates disuse muscle atrophy in rats

Cho, Seongguk, Hong, Riwon, Yim, Poorm, Yeom, Mijung, Lee, Bombi, Mo Yang, Woong, Hong, Jongki, Sook Lee, Hyang, Hahm, Dae–Hyun
Journal of ethnopharmacology 2017
Eucommia ulmoides, European Union, Lycium chinense, Schisandra chinensis, Western blotting, adenosinetriphosphatase, animal models, body weight, bones, dose response, herbal medicines, muscle development, muscle fibers, muscles, muscular atrophy, myoblasts, myogenin, myotubes, physical activity, protein synthesis, rapamycin, rats, traditional medicine, tumor necrosis factor-alpha
Schisandra chinensis (Turcz.) Baill (SC), Lycium chinense Mill (LC) and Eucommia ulmoides Oliv (EU) are representative tonic herbal medicines that help to strengthen body muscles and bones making them stronger according to the Donguibogam, a tradition medical book of the Joseon Dynasty in Korea.To evaluate effects of an herbal formula consisting of SC, LC and EU on muscle atrophy in C2C12 myotubes and in a rat model of immobilization-induced muscle atrophy.Muscle atrophy was developed by cast immobilization of unilateral hindlimb on rats for 3 weeks. Treatments were administered orally 14 times over 3 weeks. After treatments, we compared the change of body weight, muscle weight, grip strength, muscle fiber size, muscle fiber type shift by Grip strength meter, H&E stain and ATPase stain. And western blot was used for evaluating molecular mechanism in muscle atrophy on C2C12 cells.When taken individually, SC was the most effective of the three in inhibiting tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α)-induced degeneration of C2C12 myogenesis. The formulation with a mass ratio of 2:1:1 SC:LC:EU (SSLE) was more effective against TNF-α-induced muscle atrophy than was a 1:1:1 SC:LC:EU formula or any of the single herbal extracts. In a rat model of disuse muscle atrophy, the SSLE formula significantly inhibited reductions in muscle weight, grip strength and muscle fiber size induced by hindlimb immobilization, in a dose-dependent manner. The formula also inhibited immobilization-induced shifting of the muscle fiber type in soleus muscle. Treatment with SSLE inhibited TNF-α-induced expression of the atrogenes atrogin-1 and muscle RING-finger protein 1 in C2C12 cells. The SSLE formula also increased myoblast differentiation markers (myoD and myogenin) and activation of the Akt and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway.These findings suggest that the SSLE formula prevents muscle atrophy through inhibition of the ubiquitin-proteasome system as well as upregulation of myoblast differentiation and muscle protein synthesis in C2C12 cells. Taken together, we conclude that the SSLE formula is invaluable for the development of therapeutic medicines to prevent disuse muscle atrophy and its accompanying muscle weakness.