Dehydroepiandrosterone activates AMP kinase and regulates GLUT4 and PGC-1α expression in C2C12 myotubes

Takumi Yokokawa, Koji Sato, Nobumasa Iwanaka, Hiroki Honda, Kazuhiko Higashida, Motoyuki Iemitsu, Tatsuya Hayashi, Takeshi Hashimoto*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Exercise and caloric restriction (CR) have been reported to have anti-ageing, anti-obesity, and health-promoting effects. Both interventions increase the level of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in muscle and blood, suggesting that DHEA might partially mediate these effects. In addition, it is thought that either 5'-adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) or peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator-1α (PGC-1α) mediates the beneficial effects of exercise and CR. However, the effects of DHEA on AMPK activity and PGC-1α expression remain unclear. Therefore, we explored whether DHEA in myotubes acts as an activator of AMPK and increases PGC-1α.DHEA exposure increased glucose uptake but not the phosphorylation levels of Akt and PKCζ/λ in C2C12 myotubes. In contrast, the phosphorylation levels of AMPK were elevated by DHEA exposure. Finally, we found that DHEA induced the expression of the genes PGC-1α and GLUT4.Our current results might reveal a previously unrecognized physiological role of DHEA; the activation of AMPK and the induction of PGC-1α by DHEA might mediate its anti-obesity and health-promoting effects in living organisms.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2015 May 4


  • Ageing
  • Diabetes
  • Exercise
  • Glucose metabolism
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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