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Globular adiponectin protects H9c2 cells from palmitate-induced apoptosis via Akt and ERK1/2 signaling pathways

Chuan Dong Wei12, Yan Li1*, Hong Yun Zheng1, Kai Sheng Sun1, Yong Qing Tong1, Wen Dai1, Wei Wu1 and An Yu Bao1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Clinical Laboratory, Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, 99 Ziyang Road, District of Wuchang, Wuhan, Hubei, 430060, China

2 Department of Clinical Laboratory, Affiliated Hospital of Youjiang Medical University for nationalities, Baise, Guangxi, 533000, China

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Lipids in Health and Disease 2012, 11:135  doi:10.1186/1476-511X-11-135

Published: 11 October 2012



Cardiomyocytes apoptosis is an important contributor to myocardial dysfunction and heart failure. Adiponectin has cardioprotective effects, potential mechanisms behind it are not clear in cardiomyocytes. The purpose of the study was to investigate whether adiponectin can block palmitate-induced apoptosis and the underlying biochemical mechanism in H9c2 cells.


H9c2 cells were treated with palmitate presence or absence of 2.5 μg/mL globular adiponectin. The effect on the cell viability of H9c2 cells was evaluated using MTT assay, and cell apoptosis was determined by Hoechst 33342 staining. Protein expression was measured using the western blot method.


Our results showed that the palmitate treatment induced apoptosis in H9c2 cells, which was associated with increasing the level of cleaved caspase-3 and cleaved PARP. Meanwhile, palmitate-induced apoptosis increased the protein level of p-ERK1/2, and decreased the protein level of p-Akt significantly. However, levels of both of these proteins were restored to the normal when pretreated with adiponectin, and followed with the decrease of cleaved caspase-3 and cleaved PARP. In line with these results, the protective effect of adiponectin can be blocked by PI3K/Akt inhibitor LY294002, and palmitate-induced apoptosis can be attenuated by ERK1/2 inhibitor U0126.


Taken together, the present study demonstrated that adiponectin protects H9c2 cells from palmitate-induced apoptosis via PI3K/Akt and ERK1/2 signaling pathways. Our results reveal a link between adiponectin and cardiomyocytes apoptosis, suggesting that adioponectin may be a promising therapeutic for the treatment of lipotoxicity cardiomyopathy.

Adiponectin; H9c2 cells; Palmitate; Apoptosis; PI3K/Akt; ERK1/2