Lipid Accumulation in HepG2 Cells Is Attenuated by Strawberry Extract through AMPK Activation.
Nutrients. 2017 Jun 16 ;9(6). Epub 2017 Jun 16. PMID: 28621732
Tamara Y Forbes-Hernández
Regulation of lipid metabolism is essential for treatment and prevention of several chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases, which are responsible for most deaths worldwide. It has been demonstrated that the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) has a direct impact on lipid metabolism by modulating several downstream-signaling components. The main objective of the present work was to evaluate the in vitro effect of a methanolic strawberry extract on AMPK and its possible repercussion on lipid metabolism in human hepatocellular carcinoma cells (HepG2). For such purpose, the lipid profile and the expression of proteins metabolically related to AMPK were determined on cells lysates. The results demonstrated that strawberry methanolic extract decreased total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol, and triglycerides levels (up to 0.50-, 0.30-, and 0.40-fold, respectively) while it stimulated the p-AMPK/AMPK expression (up to 3.06-fold), compared to the control. AMPK stimulation led to the phosphorylation and consequent inactivation of acetyl coenzyme A carboxylase (ACC) and inhibition of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase (HMGCR), the major regulators of fatty acids and cholesterol synthesis, respectively. Strawberry treatment also entailed a 4.34-, 2.37-, and 2.47-fold overexpression of LDL receptor, sirtuin 1 (Sirt1), and the peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-alpha (PGC-1α), respectively, compared to control. The observed results were counteracted by treatment with compound C, an AMPK pharmacological inhibitor, confirming that multiple effects of strawberries on lipid metabolism are mediated by the activation of this protein.