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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 834294, 10 pages
Research Article

Quercetin Protects against Obesity-Induced Skeletal Muscle Inflammation and Atrophy

1Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Ulsan, Ulsan 680-749, Republic of Korea
2Department of Food and Nutrition, Yonsei University, Seoul 120-749, Republic of Korea
3Department of Food Science and Nutrition and Research Institute for Bioscience & Biotechnology, Hallym University, Chuncheon 200-702, Republic of Korea
4Sookmyung Women’s University, Seoul 140-742, Republic of Korea
5School of Life Science and Biotechnology, Kyungpook National University, Daegu 702-701, Republic of Korea
6Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Uji, Kyoto 611-0011, Japan

Received 17 September 2014; Revised 22 November 2014; Accepted 23 November 2014; Published 28 December 2014

Academic Editor: Giuseppe Valacchi

Copyright © 2014 Ngoc Hoan Le et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Skeletal muscle inflammation and atrophy are closely associated with metabolic impairment such as insulin resistance. Quercetin, a natural polyphenol flavonoid, is known to elicit anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities. In this study, we investigated its effect on obesity-induced skeletal muscle inflammation and atrophy in mice. Male C57BL/6 mice were fed a regular diet, a high-fat diet (HFD), and an HFD supplemented with quercetin for nine weeks. Quercetin reduced levels of inflammatory cytokines and macrophage accumulation in the skeletal muscle of the HFD-fed obese mice. It also reduced transcript and protein levels of the specific atrophic factors, Atrogin-1 and MuRF1, in the skeletal muscle of the HFD-fed obese mice, and protected against the reduction of muscle mass and muscle fiber size. In vitro, quercetin markedly diminished transcript levels of inflammatory receptors and activation of their signaling molecules (ERK, p38 MAPK, and NF-B) in cocultured myotubes/macrophages, and this was accompanied by reduced expression of the atrophic factors. Together, these findings suggest that quercetin reduces obesity-induced skeletal muscle atrophy by inhibiting inflammatory receptors and their signaling pathway. Quercetin may be useful for preventing obesity-induced muscle inflammation and sarcopenia.