We investigated the protective effects of Pyropia yezoensis
crude protein (PYCP) against dexamethasone (DEX)-induced myotube atrophy and its underlying mechanisms. DEX (3 mg/kg body weight, intraperitoneal injection) and PYCP (150 and 300 mg/kg body weight, oral) were administrated to mice for 18 days, and the effects of PYCP on DEX-induced muscle atrophy were evaluated. Body weight, calf thickness, and gastrocnemius and tibialis anterior muscle weight were significantly decreased by DEX administration (p
< 0.05), while PYCP supplementation effectively prevented the DEX-induced decrease in body weight, calf thickness, and muscle weight. PYCP supplementation also attenuated the DEX-induced increase in serum glucose, creatine kinase, and lactate dehydrogenase levels. Additionally, PYCP supplementation reversed DEX-induced muscle atrophy via the regulation of the insulin-like growth factor-I/protein kinase B/rapamycin-sensitive mTOR complex I/forkhead box O signaling pathway. The mechanistic investigation revealed that PYCP inhibited the ubiquitin-proteasome and autophagy-lysosome pathways in DEX-administrated C57BL/6 mice. These findings demonstrated that PYCP increased protein synthesis and decreased protein breakdown to prevent muscle atrophy. Therefore, PYCP supplementation appears to be useful for preventing muscle atrophy.
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