Author(s): Li Y, Chen C, Yao F, Su Q, Liu D
AMPK, a serine/threonine protein kinase, has proven to be an important positive regulator of autophagy, which is a key factor in the regulation of cardiac hypertrophy. Thus, we explored whether AMPK could inhibit cardiac hypertrophy by regulating autophagy. In pressure overload induced cardiac hypertrophy, decreased autophagy was detected. Administration of AMPK activators (AICAR and metformin) significantly blocked hypertrophy, accompanied by enhanced autophagy level in the hearts. Furthermore, AMPK activation resulted in enhanced autophagosome formation and unimpaired lysosomal function. In vitro studies demonstrated adenoviral overexpression of constitutively activated AMPK increased autophagy and blunted PE-induced cardiomyocyte hypertrophy. Additionally, we found AICAR reduced the phosphorylation of the mTORC1 downstream effectors 4EBP1 and p70S6K, but AKT, which is a downstream signal of mTORC2, was not affected. Furthermore, activation by AMPK failed to lead to an additive effect on autophagy induced by the mTORC1 inhibitor rapamycin, indicating AMPK activates autophagy through the inhibition of mTORC1 but not of mTORC2. This study proved that AMPK can inhibit cardiac hypertrophy by stimulating autophagy through mTORC1 signaling.