A novel oleanolic acid derivative HA-19 ameliorates muscle atrophy via promoting protein synthesis and preventing protein degradation

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2019 Sep 1;378:114625. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2019.114625. Epub 2019 Jun 12.


Muscle atrophy refers to a decrease in the size of muscles in the body, occurs in certain muscles with inactivity in many diseases and lacks effective therapies up to date. Natural products still play an important role in drug discovery. In the present study, derivatives of a natural product, oleanolic acid, were screened with myoblast differentiation and myotube atrophy assays, respectively. Results revealed that one of the derivatives, HA-19 showed the most potent anti-muscle atrophy activity, and was used for further studies. We demonstrated that HA-19 led to the increase of the protein synthesis by activating mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1)/p70 S6K pathways, and also enhanced myoblast proliferation and terminal differentiation via up-regulating of the myogenic transcription factors Pax7, MyoD and Myogenin. The interesting thing was that HA-19 also suppressed protein degradation to prevent myotube atrophy by down-regulating negative growth factors, FoxO1, MuRF1 and Atrogin-1. The results were also supported by puromycin labelling and protein ubiquitination assays. These data revealed that HA-19 possessed a "dual effect" on inhibition of muscle atrophy. In disuse-induced muscle atrophy mice model, HA-19 treatment significantly increased the weights of bilateral tibialis anterior (TA), gastrocnemius (Gastroc.), quadriceps (Quad.), suggesting the effectiveness of HA-19 to remit disuse-induced muscle atrophy. Our finding demonstrated that HA-19 has a great potential as an inhibitor or lead compound for the anti-muscle atrophy drug discovery.

Keywords: HA-19; Muscle atrophy; Muscle regeneration; Protein degradation; Protein synthesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Line
  • Down-Regulation / drug effects
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Muscular Atrophy / drug therapy*
  • Myoblasts / drug effects
  • Oleanolic Acid / physiology*
  • Protein Biosynthesis / drug effects*
  • Proteolysis / drug effects*
  • Ubiquitination / drug effects
  • Up-Regulation / drug effects


  • Oleanolic Acid