S-allyl cysteine inhibits TNFα-induced skeletal muscle wasting through suppressing proteolysis and expression of inflammatory molecules



Elevated levels of inflammatory molecules are key players in muscle wasting/atrophy leading to human morbidity. TNFα is a well-known pro-inflammatory cytokine implicated in the pathogenesis of muscle wasting under diverse clinical settings. S-allyl cysteine (SAC), an active component of garlic (Allium sativum), has established anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in various cell types. However, the impact of SAC on skeletal musclepathology remains unexplored. Owing to the known anti-inflammatory properties of SAC, we investigated whether pre-treatment with SAC has a protective role in TNFα-induced atrophy in cultured myotubes.

Methods and results

C2C12 myotubes were treated with TNFα (100 ng/ml) in the presence or absence of SAC (0.01 mM). TNFα treatment induced atrophy in myotubes by up-regulating various proteolyticsystems i.ecathepsin Lcalpain, ubiquitin-proteasome E3-ligases (MuRF1/atrogin1), caspase 3 and autophagy (Beclin1/LC3B). TNFα also induced the activation of NFκB by stimulating the degradation of IκBα (inhibitor of NFκB), in myotubes. The alterations in proteolytic systems likely contribute to the degradation of muscle-specific proteins and reduce the myotube length, diameter and fusion index. The SAC supplementation significantly impedes TNFα-induced protein loss and protects myotube morphology by suppressing protein catabolic systems and endogenous level of inflammatory molecules namely TNFα, IL-6, IL-1β, TNF-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK), fibroblast growth factor-inducible 14 (Fn14) and Nox.

Conclusion and general significance

Our findings reveal anti-atrophic role for SAC, as it prevents alterations in protein metabolism and protects myotubes by regulating the level of inflammatory molecules and multiple proteolytic systems responsible for muscle atrophy.

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2018 Apr;1862(4):895-906.


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