Muscle wasting increases morbidity and mortality and is related to chronic kidney disease (CKD) and dialysis. It is still unclear whether ferroptosis occurs during this progression and whether it is a potential intervention target for the treatment of CKD-related muscle injury.
The objective is to identify potential compounds for treating ferroptosis and muscle wasting and explore the potential mechanisms in vivo/in vitro.
Initially, we explored whether ferroptosis is present in the skeletal muscle of 5/6 nephrectomized (NPM) mice via RNA-Seq analysis, TUNEL staining, Oil red O staining, MDA/GSH/GSSG level detection and real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR). Subsequently, utilizing our established molecular phenotyping strategy, we screened potential traditional Chinese herb-derived compounds for alleviation of muscle wasting and ferroptosis. HE staining, Oil red O staining, TUNEL staining, immunofluorescence staining, MDA/GSH/GSSG level detection, Fe level detection, western blotting and qPCR were applied to assess the effects of the identified compound on muscle wasting and ferroptosis and explore the potential mechanism. Furthermore, RNA-Seq analysis, ChIP-Seq analysis and further experiments in vitro were performed to determine the role of Hedgehog signaling in the effect of Lobetyolin (LBT) on ferroptosis.
In NPM mice, skeletal muscle dysfunction, lipogenesis, reduced GSH/GSSG ratio, decreased GSH content, increased MDA production and and higher levels of ferroptosis markers were observed. LBT treatment (30 mg/kg or 50 mg/kg) significantly alleviates skeletal muscle injury by inhibiting ferroptosis. Additionally, in an in vitro investigation, C2C12 cells exposed to Indolyl sulfate (IS) induced ferroptosis and LBT treatment (20 μM and 50 μM) protected C2C12 from such injury, consistent with the results from the in vivo analysis. Furthermore, it was found LBT increased the levels of protein involving Hedgehog signaling pathway (SMO and GLI1), and rescue analysis revealed that this pathway played a crucial role in the regulation of ferroptosis. Further experiments demonstrated that LBT upregulated a series of suppressors of ferroptosis by activating Gli1 transcription.
LBT alleviates CKD-induced muscle injury by inhibiting ferroptosis through activation of the Hedgehog signaling pathway.

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