Excessive fat accumulation has been considered as a major contributing factor for muscle mitochondrial dysfunction and its associated metabolic complications. The purpose of present study is to investigate a role of vitamin D in muscle fat accumulation and mitochondrial changes. In differentiated C2C12 muscle cells, palmitic acid (PA) was pretreated, followed by incubation with 1,25-dihyroxyvitamin D (1,25(OH)2D) for 24 h. PA led to a significant increment of triglyceride (TG) levels with increased lipid peroxidation and cellular damage, which were reversed by 1,25(OH)2D. The supplementation of 1,25(OH)2D significantly enhanced PA-decreased mtDNA levels as well as mRNA levels involved in mitochondrial biogenesis such as nuclear respiratory factor 1 (NRF1), peroxisome proliferative activated receptor gamma coactivator-1α (PGC-1α), and mitochondrial transcription factor A (Tfam) in C2C12 myotubes. Additionally, 1,25(OH)2D significantly increased ATP levels and gene expression related to mitochondrial function such as carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 (CPT1), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α (PPARα), very long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (VLCAD), long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (LCAD), medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (MCAD), uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2), and UCP3 and the vitamin D pathway including 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 24-hydroxylase (CYP24) and 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 1-alpha-hydroxylase (CYP27) in PA-treated C2C12 myotubes. In addition to significant increment of sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) mRNA expression, increased activation of adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and SIRT1 was found in 1,25(OH)2D-treated C2C12 muscle cells. Thus, we suggest that the observed protective effect of vitamin D on muscle fat accumulation and mitochondrial dysfunction in a positive manner via modulating AMPK/SIRT1 activation.
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