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General Research Article

Docosahexaenoic Acid Ester of Phloridzin Reduces Inflammation and Insulin Resistance <i>via</i> AMPK

[ Vol. 28 , Issue. 22 ]


Jingqing Chen, Zhenlong Wu, Jin Wang, Xuemeng Si, Rui Zhang, Tianqi Sun, Qiaoyan Dong, Wenqing Wu* and Yefeng Qiu*   Pages 1854 - 1862 ( 9 )


Background: Docosahexaenoic acid-acylated phloridzin (PZ-DHA), a novel polyphenol fatty acid ester derivative, is synthesized through an acylation reaction of phloridzin (PZ) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). PZ-DHA is more stable than DHA and exhibits higher cellular uptake and bioavailability than PZ.

Objective: The study aims to investigate the effects of PZ-DHA on insulin resistance in the skeletal muscle and the related mechanisms; we used palmitic acid (PA)-treated C2C12 myotubes as an insulin resistance model.

Results: We found that PZ-DHA increased the activity of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and improved glucose uptake and mitochondrial function in an AMPK-dependent manner in untreated C2C12 myotubes. PZ-DHA treatment of the myotubes reversed PA-induced insulin resistance; this was indicated by increases in glucose uptake and the expression of membrane glucose transporter 4 (Glut4) and phosphorylated Akt. Moreover, PZ-DHA treatment reversed PA-induced inflammation and oxidative stress. These effects of PZ-DHA were mediated by AMPK. Furthermore, the increase in AMPK activity, improvement in insulin resistance, and decrease in inflammatory and oxidative responses after PZ-DHA treatment diminished upon co-treatment with a liver kinase B1 (LKB1) inhibitor, suggesting that PZ-DHA improved AMPK activity by regulating its upstream kinase, LKB1.

Conclusion: The effects of PZ-DHA on insulin resistance in C2C12 myotubes may be mediated by the LKB1- AMPK signaling pathway. Hence, PZ-DHA is a promising therapeutic agent for insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes.


Docosahexaenoic acid, glucose uptake, insulin resistance, myotubes, phloridzin, AMP-activated protein kinase.


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