Int J Biol Sci 2016; 12(7):861-871. doi:10.7150/ijbs.14213 This issue

Research Paper

Asiatic Acid Protects against Cardiac Hypertrophy through Activating AMPKα Signalling Pathway

Zhen-Guo Ma1,2, Jia Dai1,2, Wen-Ying Wei1,2, Wen-Bin Zhang1,2, Si-Chi Xu1,2, Hai-Han Liao1,2, Zheng Yang1,2, Qi-Zhu Tang1,2✉

1. Department of Cardiology, Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan, China;
2. Cardiovascular Research Institute of Wuhan University, Wuhan, China.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) License. See for full terms and conditions.
Ma ZG, Dai J, Wei WY, Zhang WB, Xu SC, Liao HH, Yang Z, Tang QZ. Asiatic Acid Protects against Cardiac Hypertrophy through Activating AMPKα Signalling Pathway. Int J Biol Sci 2016; 12(7):861-871. doi:10.7150/ijbs.14213. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Background: AMPactivated protein kinase α (AMPKα) is closely involved in the process of cardiac hypertrophy. Asiatic acid (AA), a pentacyclic triterpene, was found to activate AMPKα in our preliminary experiment. However, its effects on the development of cardiac hypertrophy remain unclear. The present study was to determine whether AA could protect against cardiac hypertrophy.

Methods: Mice subjected to aortic banding were orally given AA (10 or 30mg/kg) for 7 weeks. In the inhibitory experiment, Compound C was intraperitoneally injected for 3 weeks after surgery.

Results: Our results showed that AA markedly inhibited hypertrophic responses induced by pressure overload or angiotensin II. AA also suppressed cardiac fibrosis in vivo and accumulation of collagen in vitro. The protective effects of AA were mediated by activation of AMPKα and inhibition of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) in vivo and in vitro. However, AA lost the protective effects after AMPKα inhibition or gene deficiency.

Conclusions: AA protects against cardiac hypertrophy by activating AMPKα, and has the potential to be used for the treatment of heart failure.

Keywords: AMPKα, Asiatic acid, Cardiac fibrosis, Cardiac hypertrophy.