How goji berries maintain the skeletal muscle stem cell bank to play a “strong” effect

Goji berries are traditional and precious Chinese medicine in China, and have been approved by the Ministry of Health as “medicinal and edible food”. Ningxia goji berry (Lycium barbarum L.) is the fruit of the nightshade family Goji berry plant Ningxia goji berry, is a traditional Chinese medicine goji berry authentic medicinal herb. The “Compendium of Materia Medica” records that goji berries have the effect of “serving for a long time, strengthening the bones, light and not aging”. However, the scientific rationale for goji berries to have these effects has not been fully explained.

Recently, Chen Chang’s research group from the Institute of Biophysics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the research group of Ding Kan of the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences found that the polysaccharide LBP1C-2 promotes the activation and self-renewal of skeletal muscle satellite cells by interacting with FGFR1, thereby maintaining the muscle stem cell pool. The research results were published online in the journal iScience.

One of the most significant effects of aging on the body is the loss of skeletal muscle mass, strength, and function, known as muscle atrophy. Satellite cells (SCs), as skeletal muscle stem cells, play an important role in the growth, repair and regeneration of skeletal muscle. Decreased number of satellite cells and functional impairment are important causes of age-related muscle wasting.

Using adult mice and naturally aging mice as models, the researchers found that Goji berry water extract (L. barbarum extract (LBE) gavage can increase the number of skeletal muscle satellite cells. In the muscle injury regeneration model, LBE can promote stem cell activation and self-renewal, thereby promoting muscle regeneration. Exploring the main components at play in LBE, it was found that goji polysaccharides (L. goji berries) were found. barbarumpolysaccharide, LBP), as the main component of LBE, has similar efficacy. More importantly, the researchers found that the homogeneous polysaccharide LBP1C-2 isolated and purified from LBP is an active component in regulating the number and function of satellite cells. Mechanism studies have found that LBP1C-2 may interact directly with the membrane receptor FGFR1, promote satellite cell activation by activating the p38 signaling pathway, and promote satellite cell self-renewal by upregulating Spry1 expression after satellite cell activation and multiplication, thereby maintaining the stability of the muscle stem cell pool.

This study found for the first time that LBE and LBP are involved in the regulation of skeletal muscle satellite cell function, which complements the function of LME to enhance muscle endurance by increasing the proportion of oxidized muscle fibers revealed by the previous research of Chen Chang’s group, and systematically provides a scientific interpretation of the traditional efficacy of goji berries from the two aspects of muscle fiber type and stem cell maintenance. Moreover, this study clarifies the active ingredients and targets of LBE and explains the molecular mechanism of the function, which will lay a theoretical foundation for the medicinal or auxiliary medicinal use of goji berries or its active ingredients in skeletal muscle.

Chen Chang, a researcher at the Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Ding Kan, a researcher at the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences, are co-corresponding authors of this paper. Associate researcher Meng Jiao, PhD student Lv Zhenyu and former Ding Kan Group Dr. Chen Xia are co-first authors of this paper. This project has been funded by the Strategic Leading Science and Technology Project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Class B), the National Key R&D Program Biomacromolecules and Microbiome Project, the Major Project of the Key R&D Program of Ningxia Autonomous Region, the Regional Key Project of the Science and Technology Service Network Program (STS Program) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Major Science and Technology Project of Shanghai. (Source: Li Chenyang, China Science News)

Schematic diagram of the efficacy and molecular mechanism of the maintenance of skeletal muscle satellite cell bank with the polysaccharide LBP1C-2 of Goji berry

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