Inhibitory effects of standardized leonurus japonicus extract and its bioactive leonurine on TNF-α-Induced muscle atrophy in L6 Myotubes

Jiyeon Lee, Changhee Kim, Hyerin Lee, Jae Kwan Hwang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Muscle atrophy, characterized by a reduced number and size of myofibers, occurs due to immobilization, aging, and several chronic diseases. Leonurus japonicus, belonging to the Labiatae family, is widely used as a traditional medicine in Korea, China, and Japan. Previous studies have reported that L. japonicus has various physiological activities, such as anti-bacteria, anti-cancer, and liver protection. Leonurine, which is a major bioactive in L. japonicas, is known to possess biological effects including anti-inflammation, anti-fibrosis, anti-angiogenesis, and anti-diabetes. However, the preventive effects of L. japonicas and leonurine on muscle have not been reported. The current study aimed to determine the inhibitory effects of standardized L. japonicus extract (LJE) and leonurine on muscle atrophy by clarifying their underlying molecular mechanisms in tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α)-stimulated L6 myotubes. LJE and leonurine stimulated the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt pathway that was reduced by TNF-α treatment. LJE and leonurine not only increased the mammalian target of rapamycin pathway for protein anabolism but also decreased the mRNA expression of E3 ubiquitin ligases by blocking the translocation of Forkhead box O, which is closely linked with proteolysis. Additionally, LJE and leonurine alleviated inflammatory responses by downregulating TNF-α and interleukin-6 mRNA expression and reducing the protein expression of nuclear factor-kappa B, a major transcriptional factor of proinflammatory cytokines. Collectively, LJE and leonurine have potential as therapeutic candidates for inhibiting the development of skeletal muscle atrophy by activating the PI3K/Akt pathway and reducing inflammatory responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1896-1904
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of microbiology and biotechnology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2020 by The Korean Society for Microbiology and Biotechnology.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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