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Curcumin stimulates glucose uptake through AMPK-p38 MAPK pathways in L6 myotube cells
Ji Hae Kim 1, Ji Man Park 2, Eung-Kyun Kim 2, Jung Ok Lee 1, Soo Kyung Lee 1, Jin Hee Jung 1, Ga Young You 1, Sun Hwa Park 1, Pann-Ghill Suh 2 *, Hyeon Soo Kim 1 *
1Department of Anatomy, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea
2Division of Molecular and Life Science, POSTECH (Pohang University Science and Technology), Pohang, South Korea

Curcumin has been shown to exert a variety of beneficial human health effects. However, mechanisms by which curcumin acts are poorly understood. In this study, we report that curcumin activated AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and increased glucose uptake in rat L6 myotubes. In addition, curcumin activated the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK)3/6-p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathways in the downstream of the AMPK cascade. Moreover, inhibition of either AMPK or p38 MAPK resulted in blockage of curcumin-induced glucose uptake. Furthermore, the administration of curcumin to mice increased AMPK phosphorylation in the skeletal muscles. Taken together, these results indicate that the beneficial health effect of curcumin can be explained by its ability to activate AMPK-p38 MAPK pathways in skeletal muscles. J. Cell. Physiol. 223:771-778, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.