Rosmarinic Acid, a Rosemary Extract Polyphenol, Increases Skeletal Muscle Cell Glucose Uptake and Activates AMPK
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Skeletal muscle is a major insulin-target tissue and plays an important role in glucose homeostasis. Impaired insulin action in muscles leads to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes mellitus. 5′ AMP-activated kinase (AMPK) is an energy sensor, its activation increases glucose uptake in skeletal muscle and AMPK activators have been viewed as a targeted approach in combating insulin resistance. We previously reported AMPK activation and increased muscle glucose uptake by rosemary extract (RE). In the present study, we examined the effects and the mechanism of action of rosmarinic acid (RA), a major RE constituent, in L6 rat muscle cells. RA (5.0 μM) increased glucose uptake (186 ± 4.17% of control, p < 0.001) to levels comparable to maximum insulin (204 ± 10.73% of control, p < 0.001) and metformin (202 ± 14.37% of control, p < 0.001). Akt phosphorylation was not affected by RA, while AMPK phosphorylation was increased. The RAstimulated glucose uptake was inhibited by the AMPK inhibitor compound C and was not affected by wortmannin, an inhibitor of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K). The current study shows an effect of RA to increase muscle glucose uptake and AMPK phosphorylation. RA deserves further study as it shows potential to be used as an agent to regulate glucose homeostasis.