A Rhodiola rosea root extract protects skeletal muscle cells against chemically induced oxidative stress by modulating heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) expression

Phytother Res. 2014 Apr;28(4):623-8. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5046. Epub 2013 Jul 26.


Rhodiola rosea is a perennial plant in the Crassulaceae family, recently postulated to exert its adaptogenic functions partially by modulating the expression of molecular factors such as heat shock proteins (HSP). The aim of this study was to analyze the efficacy of a Rhodiola rosea extract (Rhodiolife) in protecting murine skeletal muscle cells (C2 C12 myotubes) from chemically induced oxidative stress and to establish whether modulation of HSP70 expression is observed. C2 C12 cells treated with Rhodiolife did not experience any loss of viability (p > 0.05) at concentrations of 1-100 µg/mL for up to 24 h. In control cultures, viability decreased 25% following exposure to 2 mM H2 O2 (1 h). However, no significant decrease in viability in cells pre-treated with extract at concentrations as low as 1 µg/mL was observed. HSP70 mRNA levels were up-regulated two-fold in cell cultures treated with Rhodiolife (10 µg/mL), and expression was further enhanced by exposure to H2 O2 (six-fold, p < 0.05). HSP70 protein levels were maintained in pre-treated cell cultures compared to controls but was significantly lower (-50%) in cells lacking treatment exposed to H2 O2 . The present results indicate that Rhodiolife protects C2 C12 myotubes against peroxide-induced oxidative stress through the modulation of the molecular chaperone HSP70.

Keywords: HSP70; Rhodiola rosea; adaptogen; muscle; oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Survival
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Roots / chemistry
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rhodiola / chemistry*


  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Plant Extracts
  • RNA, Messenger