Phytochemical compound PB125 attenuates skeletal muscle mitochondrial dysfunction and impaired proteostasis in a model of musculoskeletal decline

Robert V. Musci, Kendra M. Andrie, Maureen A. Walsh, Zackary J. Valenti, Melissa A. Linden, Maryam F. Afzali, Sydney Bork, Margaret Campbell, Taylor Johnson, Thomas E. Kail, Richard Martinez, Tessa Nguyen, Joseph Sanford, Sara Wist, Meredith D. Murrell, Joe M. McCord, Brooks M. Hybertson, Qian Zhang, Martin A. Javors, Kelly S. SantangeloKaryn L. Hamilton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Abstract: Impaired mitochondrial function and disrupted proteostasis contribute to musculoskeletal dysfunction. However, few interventions simultaneously target these two drivers to prevent musculoskeletal decline. Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) activates a transcriptional programme promoting cytoprotection, metabolism, and proteostasis. We hypothesized daily treatment with a purported Nrf2 activator, PB125, in Hartley guinea pigs, a model of musculoskeletal decline, would attenuate the progression of skeletal muscle mitochondrial dysfunction and impaired proteostasis and preserve musculoskeletal function. We treated 2- and 5-month-old male and female Hartley guinea pigs for 3 and 10 months, respectively, with the phytochemical compound PB125. Longitudinal assessments of voluntary mobility were measured using Any-MazeTM open-field enclosure monitoring. Cumulative skeletal muscle protein synthesis rates were measured using deuterium oxide over the final 30 days of treatment. Mitochondrial oxygen consumption in soleus muscles was measured using high resolution respirometry. In both sexes, PB125 (1) increased electron transfer system capacity; (2) attenuated the disease/age-related decline in coupled and uncoupled mitochondrial respiration; and (3) attenuated declines in protein synthesis in the myofibrillar, mitochondrial and cytosolic subfractions of the soleus. These effects were not associated with statistically significant prolonged maintenance of voluntary mobility in guinea pigs. Collectively, treatment with PB125 contributed to maintenance of skeletal muscle mitochondrial respiration and proteostasis in a pre-clinical model of musculoskeletal decline. Further investigation is necessary to determine if these documented effects of PB125 are also accompanied by slowed progression of other aspects of musculoskeletal dysfunction. (Figure presented.). Key points: Aside from exercise, there are no effective interventions for musculoskeletal decline, which begins in the fifth decade of life and contributes to disability and cardiometabolic diseases. Targeting both mitochondrial dysfunction and impaired protein homeostasis (proteostasis), which contribute to the age and disease process, may mitigate the progressive decline in overall musculoskeletal function (e.g. gait, strength). A potential intervention to target disease drivers is to stimulate nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) activation, which leads to the transcription of genes responsible for redox homeostasis, proteome maintenance and mitochondrial energetics. Here, we tested a purported phytochemical Nrf2 activator, PB125, to improve mitochondrial function and proteostasis in male and female Hartley guinea pigs, which are a model for musculoskeletal ageing. PB125 improved mitochondrial respiration and attenuated disease- and age-related declines in skeletal muscle protein synthesis, a component of proteostasis, in both male and female Hartley guinea pigs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2189-2216
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Physiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2023


  • ageing
  • chronic disease
  • healthspan
  • lifespan
  • longevity
  • mitochondria
  • musculoskeletal
  • proteostasis
  • skeletal muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Phytochemical compound PB125 attenuates skeletal muscle mitochondrial dysfunction and impaired proteostasis in a model of musculoskeletal decline'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this