Muscle wasting is caused by various factors, such as aging, cancer, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease, and significantly decreases the quality of life. However, therapeutic interventions for muscle atrophy have not yet been well-developed. In this study, we investigated the effects of schisandrin A (SNA), a component extracted from the fruits of Schisandra chinensis
, on dexamethasone (DEX)-induced muscle atrophy in mice and studied the underlying mechanisms. DEX+SNA-treated mice had significantly increased grip strength, muscle weight, and muscle fiber size compared with DEX+vehicle-treated mice. In addition, SNA treatment significantly reduced the expression of muscle degradation factors such as myostatin, MAFbx (atrogin1), and muscle RING-finger protein-1 (MuRF1) and enhanced the expression of myosin heavy chain (MyHC) compared to the vehicle. In vitro studies using differentiated C2C12 myotubes also showed that SNA treatment decreased the expression of muscle degradation factors induced by dexamethasone and increased protein synthesis and expression of MyHCs by regulation of Akt/FoxO and Akt/70S6K pathways, respectively. These results suggest that SNA reduces protein degradation and increases protein synthesis in the muscle, contributing to the amelioration of dexamethasone-induced muscle atrophy and may be a potential candidate for the prevention and treatment of muscle atrophy.
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