Salidroside intensifies mitochondrial function of CoCl2-damaged HT22 cells by stimulating PI3K-AKT-MAPK signaling pathway

Phytomedicine. 2023 Jan:109:154568. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2022.154568. Epub 2022 Nov 20.


Background: Salidroside (Sal), an active component from Rhodiola crenulata, has been confirmed to exert neuroprotective effects against hypoxia. However, its molecular mechanisms of intensifying mitochondrial function still largely unknown. In the present study, we aimed to explore the mechanisms by which Sal heightened mitochondrial function in CoCl2-induced HT22 hypoxic injury.

Methods: The hypoxic condition of HT22 cells was performed by CoCl2 stimulus. We then investigated the effects of Sal on the viability of hypoxic HT22 cells by cell counting kit-8. The contents of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release in cultured supernatant were detected by using commercial biochemical kit. Superoxide free radical scavenging activity, total antioxidant capacity assay kit with ferric reducing ability of plasma and 2,2'-azino-bis (3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) methods were employed to detect the free radical scavenging ability and antioxidant capacity of Sal. Meanwhile, intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS), Ca2+ and mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) were determined by corresponding specific labeled probes. Mitochondrial morphology was tested by Mito-tracker green with confocal microscopy. Hoechst 33342 and Annexin V-FITC/propidium iodide staining were also employed to evaluate the effect of Sal on cell apoptosis. Oxygen consumption rate (OCR), real-time ATP production and proton efflux rate were measured using a Seahorse analyzer. Additionally, the potential interactions of Sal with PI3K-AKT signaling pathway-related proteins were predicted and tested by molecular docking, molecular dynamics simulation (MDS) and localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) techniques, respectively. Furthermore, the protein levels of p-PI3K, PI3K, p-AKT, AKT, p-JNK, JNK, p-p38 and p38 were estimated by western blot analysis.

Results: Sal alleviated CoCl2-induced hypoxic injury in HT22 cells as evidenced by increased cell viability and decreased LDH release. In vitro antioxidant test confirmed that Sal had marvelous antioxidant abilities. The protected mitochondrial function by Sal treatment was illustrated by the decrease of ROS, Ca2+, mitochondrial fragment and the increase of MMP. In addition, Sal ameliorated the apoptosis of HT22 cells by decreasing Hoechst 33342 positive cells and the rate of apoptotic cells. Enhancement of energy metabolism in HT22 by Sal was demonstrated by increased OCR, real-time ATP generation and proton efflux rate. The molecular docking confirmed the potential binding of Sal to PI3K, AKT and CaMK II proteins with calculated binding energy of -1.32, -4.21 and -4.38 kcal/mol, respectively. The MDS test revealed the average hydrogen bond of complex Sal-PI3K and Sal-AKT were 0.79 and 4.46, respectively. The results of LSPR verified the potential binding of Sal to proteins PI3K, AKT and HIF-1α with affinity values of 5.20 × 10 - 3, 2.83 × 10 - 3 and 3.97 × 10 - 3 KD, respectively. Western blot analysis further argued that Sal consolidated the levels of p-PI3K and p-AKT. Meanwhile, Sal could downregulate the proteins expression of p-JNK and p-p38.

Conclusion: Collectively, our findings suggested that Sal can intensify mitochondrial function of CoCl2-simulated hypoxia injury in HT22 cells by stimulating PI3K-AKT-MAPK signaling pathway. Sal is a potential agent for mitochondrial protection against hypoxia with the underlying molecular mechanisms of energy metabolism being further elucidated.

Keywords: HT22; Hypoxia injury; Mitochondrial function; PI3K-AKT-MAPK; Salidroside.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Apoptosis
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cobalt / metabolism
  • Cobalt / toxicity
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Molecular Docking Simulation
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases* / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt* / metabolism
  • Protons
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • cobaltous chloride
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • rhodioloside
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Antioxidants
  • Calcium
  • Protons
  • Cobalt
  • Adenosine Triphosphate