Caffeine has been shown to promote calcium-dependent activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and AMPK-dependent glucose and fatty acid uptake in mammalian skeletal muscle. Though caffeine has been shown to promote autophagy in various mammalian cell lines it is unclear if caffeine-induced autophagy is related to the calcium-dependent activation of AMPK. The purpose of this study was to examine the role of calcium-dependent AMPK activation in regulating caffeine-induced autophagy in mammalian skeletal muscle cells. We discovered that the addition of the AMPK inhibitor Compound C could significantly reduce the expression of the autophagy marker microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3b-II (LC3b-II) and autophagic vesicle accumulation in caffeine treated skeletal muscle cells. Additional experiments using pharmacological inhibitors and RNA interference (RNAi) demonstrated that the calcium/calmodulin-activated protein kinases CaMKKβ and CaMKII contributed to the AMPK-dependent expression of LC3b-II and autophagic vesicle accumulation in a caffeine dose-dependent manner. Our results indicate that in skeletal muscle cells caffeine increases autophagy by promoting the calcium-dependent activation of AMPK.
Keywords: AMP-activated protein kinase; Autophagy; Caffeine; Calcium; Calcium/calmodulin-activated protein kinase II.
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