Quercetin and its metabolite isorhamnetin promote glucose uptake through different signalling pathways in myotubes

Hao Jiang, Yoko Yamashita, Asuka Nakamura, Kevin Croft, Hitoshi Ashida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)


Quercetin and its metabolite isorhamnetin elicit various beneficial effects on human health. However, their bioavailability is low. In this study, we investigated whether low concentrations in the physiological range could promote glucose uptake in L6 myotubes, as well as the underlying molecular mechanisms. We found that 0.1 nM and 1 nM quercetin or 1 nM isorhamnetin significantly increased glucose uptake via translocation of glucose transporter type 4 (GLUT4) to the plasma membrane of L6 myotubes. Quercetin principally activated the CaMKKβ/AMPK signalling pathway at these concentrations, but also activated IRS1/PI3K/Akt signalling at 10 nM. In contrast, 1 nM and 10 nM isorhamnetin principally activated the JAK/STAT pathway. Treatment with siAMPKα and siJAK2 abolished quercetin- and isorhamnetin-induced GLUT4 translocation, respectively. However, treatment with siJAK3 did not affect isorhamnetin-induced GLUT4 translocation, indicating that isorhamnetin induced GLUT4 translocation mainly through JAK2, but not JAK3, signalling. Thus, quercetin preferably activated the AMPK pathway and, accordingly, stimulated IRS1/PI3K/Akt signalling, while isorhamnetin activated the JAK2/STAT pathway. Furthermore, after oral administration of quercetin glycoside at 10 and 100 mg/kg body weight significantly induced GLUT4 translocation to the plasma membrane of skeletal muscles in mice. In the same animals, plasma concentrations of quercetin aglycone form were 4.95 and 6.80 nM, respectively. In conclusion, at low-concentration ranges, quercetin and isorhamnetin promote glucose uptake by increasing GLUT4 translocation via different signalling pathways in skeletal muscle cells; thus, these compounds may possess beneficial functions for maintaining glucose homeostasis by preventing hyperglycaemia at physiological concentrations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2690
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019

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