Article Publish Status: FREE
Abstract Title:

Ursolic acid ameliorates adipose tissue insulin resistance in aged rats via activating the Akt-glucose transporter 4 signaling pathway and inhibiting inflammation.

Abstract Source:

Exp Ther Med. 2021 Dec ;22(6):1466. Epub 2021 Oct 20. PMID: 34737806

Abstract Author(s):

Tong-Zhuang Wang, Guo-Wei Zuo, Ling Yao, Chun-Lin Yuan, Hai-Fei Li, Ying Lai, Zhi-Wei Chen, Jun Zhang, Ya-Qian Jin, Johji Yamahara, Jian-Wei Wang

Article Affiliation:

Tong-Zhuang Wang


Ageing often results in insulin resistance (IR) and chronic inflammation, and adipose is one of the tissues in which inflammation and IR occur earliest during this process. The present study investigated the effect and underlying mechanisms of ursolic acid (UA) on adipose IR and inflammation in ageing rats. Specific pathogen-free male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into 4 groups: i) Young normal (young); ii) untreated ageing (aged); and groups supplemented with UA either iii) low-UA 10 mg/kg (UA-L) or iv) high-50 mg/kg (UA-H). Animals in the UA-treated groups received 10 or 50 mg/kg UA (suspended in 5% Gum Arabic solution). The rats in the corresponding aged group and young groups received vehicle (5% Gum Arabic) alone. All rats were intragastrically treated once daily by oral gavage for 7 weeks. The day before the experiment terminated, overnight fasting blood (~700µl) was collected and plasma was prepared to measure biochemical indicators; western blotting was performed to analyze the expression of insulin signaling proteins [(insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS-1), phosphorylated (p)-IRS-1, PI3K, glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4), Akt and p-Akt)] and inflammatoryfactors (NF-κB, IL-6 and IL-1β) in the epididymis white adipose tissue (eWAT). The results revealed that treatment with UA-H decreased eWAT weight, the ratio of eWAT weight/body weight, fasted insulin and triglyceride levels, the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance and adipose tissue insulin resistance index in ageing rats, indicating the amelioration of systemic and adipose tissue IR, compared with the aged group. Mechanistically, UA-H administration upregulated p-protein kinase B, the ratio of p-Akt to protein kinase B and total and cellular membrane GLUT4 protein levels ineWAT of ageing rats. Conversely, UA inhibited the increase in NF-κB expression and proinflammatory cytokines IL-6 and IL-1β. However, these alterations were not observed in the rats of the aged group. Taken together, the findings of the present study indicated that UA may ameliorate adipose IR, which is associated with activation of the Akt-GLUT4 signaling pathway and inhibition of inflammation in ageing rats. These data provide a basis for the development of effective and safe drugs or functional substances, such as UA, for the prevention and treatment of metabolic diseases.

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