Pomegranate extract prevents skeletal muscle of mice against wasting induced by acute TNF-α injection

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2017 Apr;61(4). doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201600169. Epub 2016 Nov 30.


Scope: We investigated whether punicalagin-rich pomegranate extract (PE) protects skeletal muscle of mice against inflammation induced by an acute injection of TNF-α.

Results: Mice fed with PE or standard chow during 6 wk were injected with TNF-α (100 ng/g) or vehicle and sacrificed 6 h later. Prior supplementation with PE prevented the loss of tibialis anterior mass induced by TNF-α. In skeletal muscle, the activation of the NF-κB signaling and the induction of cytokines mRNA were reduced in mice having received PE. In those mice, the activity of the Akt/mTORC1 pathway and the protein synthesis were maintained after TNF-α injection whereas markers involved in the ubiquitin proteasome pathway were less activated. As urolithin A was the only punicalagin metabolite detectable in plasma of mice supplemented with PE, we performed in vitro experiments using a murine cell line (C2C12) to provide evidence that urolithin A is likely the active compound protecting skeletal muscle against TNF-α-induced inflammation.

Conclusion (focus on nutritional relevance): These results suggest that supplementation with a punicalagin-rich PE may protect skeletal muscle against an acute inflammation.

Keywords: Ellagitannins; NF-κB; Polyphenols; Punicalagins; Urolithin A.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Coumarins / pharmacology
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Female
  • Hydrolyzable Tannins / pharmacology
  • Lythraceae / chemistry*
  • Male
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1
  • Mice
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / pharmacology*


  • Coumarins
  • Cytokines
  • Hydrolyzable Tannins
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • NF-kappa B
  • Plant Extracts
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • 3,8-dihydroxy-6H-dibenzo(b,d)pyran-6-one
  • punicalagin
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases