New Findings: What is the central question of this study? We sought to examine whether curcumin could ameliorate skeletal muscle atrophy in diabetic mice by inhibiting protein ubiquitination, inflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress. What is the main finding and its importance? We found that curcumin ameliorated skeletal muscle atrophy in streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice by inhibiting protein ubiquitination without affecting protein synthesis. This favourable effect of curcumin was possibly due to the inhibition of inflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress. Curcumin may be beneficial for the treatment of muscle atrophy in type 1 diabetes mellitus. Skeletal muscle atrophy develops in patients with diabetes mellitus (DM), especially in type 1 DM, which is associated with chronic inflammation. Curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric, has various biological actions, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. We hypothesized that curcumin could ameliorate skeletal muscle atrophy in mice with streptozotocin-induced type 1 DM. C57BL/6 J mice were injected with streptozotocin (200 mg kg-1 i.p.; DM group) or vehicle (control group). Each group of mice was randomly subdivided into two groups of 10 mice each and fed a diet with or without curcumin (1500 mg kg-1 day-1) for 2 weeks. There were significant decreases in body weight, skeletal muscle weight and cellular cross-sectional area of the skeletal muscle in DM mice compared with control mice, and these changes were significantly attenuated in DM+Curcumin mice without affecting plasma glucose and insulin concentrations. Ubiquitination of protein was increased in skeletal muscle from DM mice and decreased in DM+Curcumin mice. Gene expressions of muscle-specific ubiquitin E3 ligase atrogin-1/MAFbx and MuRF1 were increased in DM and inhibited in DM+Curcumin mice. Moreover, nuclear factor-κB activation, concentrations of the inflammatory cytokines tumour necrosis factor-α and interleukin-1β and oxidative stress were increased in the skeletal muscle from DM mice and inhibited in DM+Curcumin mice. Curcumin ameliorated skeletal muscle atrophy in DM mice by inhibiting protein ubiquitination, inflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress. Curcumin may be beneficial for the treatment of muscle atrophy in type 1 DM.
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