Restoration of autophagy by puerarin in ethanol-treated hepatocytes via the activation of AMP-activated protein kinase

Byung Kyu Noh, Jung Kyu Lee, Hee jin Jun, Ji Hae Lee, Yaoyao Jia, Minh Hien Hoang, Jung Wan Kim, Kwan Hwa Park, Sung Joon Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


We investigated the effects of puerarin, the major isoflavone in Kudzu roots, on the regulation of autophagy in ethanol-treated hepatocytes. Incubation in ethanol (100. mM) for 24. h reduced cell viability by 20% and increased the cellular concentrations of cholesterol and triglycerides by 40% and 20%, respectively. Puerarin stimulation significantly recovered cell viability and reduced cellular lipid accumulation to a level comparable to that in untreated control cells. Ethanol incubation reduced autophagy significantly as assessed by microtubule-associated protein1 light chain 3 (LC3) expression using immunohistochemistry and immunoblot analysis. The reduced expression of LC3 was restored by puerarin in a dose-dependent manner in ethanol-treated cells. The effect of puerarin on mammalian targets of rapamycin (mTOR), a key regulator of autophagy, was examined in ethanol-treated hepatocytes. Immunoblotting revealed that puerarin significantly induced the phosphorylation of 5'AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), thereby suppressing the mTOR target proteins S6 ribosomal protein and 4E-binding protein 1. These data suggest that puerarin restored the viability of cells and reduced lipid accumulation in ethanol-treated hepatocytes by activating autophagy via AMPK/mTOR-mediated signaling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-366
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and biophysical research communications
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Oct 22

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Technology Development Program for Food , Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, Republic of Korea ( 109153032WT111 ).


  • AMPK
  • Alcoholic liver damage
  • Autophagy
  • MTOR
  • Puerarin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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