In vitro assessment of the combined effect of eicosapentaenoic acid, green tea extract and curcumin C3 on protein loss in C2C12 myotubes

Kamran A. Mirza*, Menghua Luo, Suzette Pereira, Anne Voss, Tapas Das, Michael J. Tisdale

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


EPA has been clinically shown to reduce muscle wasting during cancer cachexia. This study investigates whether curcumin or green tea extract (GTE) enhances the ability of low doses of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) to reduce loss of muscle protein in an in vitro model. A low dose of EPA with minimal anti-cachectic activity was chosen to evaluate any potential synergistic effect with curcumin or GTE. Depression of protein synthesis and increase in degradation was determined in C2C12 myotubes in response to tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and proteolysis-inducing factor (PIF). EPA (50 μM) or curcumin (10 μg ml−1) alone had little effect on protein degradation caused by PIF but the combination produced complete inhibition, as did the combination with GTE (10 μg ml−1). In response to TNF-α (25 ng ml−1)-induced protein degradation, EPA had a small, but not significant effect on protein degradation; however, when curcumin and GTE were combined with EPA, the effect was enhanced. EPA completely attenuated the depression of protein synthesis caused by TNF-α, but not that caused by PIF. The combination of EPA with curcumin produced a significant increase in protein synthesis to both agents. GTE alone or in combination with EPA had no effect on the depression of protein synthesis by TNF-α, but did significantly increase protein synthesis in PIF-treated cells. Both TNF-α and PIF significantly reduced myotube diameter from 17 to 13 μm for TNF-α (23.5%) and 15 μm (11.8%) for PIF However the triple combination of EPA, curcumin and GTE returned diameters to values not significantly different from the control. These results suggest that either curcumin or GTE or the combination could enhance the anti-catabolic effect of EPA on lean body mass.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)838–845
Number of pages8
JournalIn Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology: Animal
Issue number8
Early online date18 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016

Bibliographical note

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  • curcumin
  • EPA
  • green tea extract
  • muscle protein atrophy


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