AICAR (also known as 5-Aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide-1-beta-d-ribofuranoside, and aminoimidazole carboxamide ribonucleotide) has been heralded as a pharmacological tool able to activate AMPK (5’-AMP-activated protein kinase) . Moreover, AICAR has been reported as a naturally occurring adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase activator in in humans, along with other animals such as horses . In the cell, AMPK is known as being a regulator of responses by cells to energy changes and stress . Keeping with its importance in the cell, AMPK is noted a being the ‘hub’ of metabolic regulation, being ready and able to modify a cell’s metabolic fluxes, modifying pathways, to maintain energy changes [4; 5]. Recently, AICAR has been used as a doping agent which has the ability to increase running capacity .
How it works
AICAR is an intermediate or ‘middle compound’ in the purine biosynthetic pathway. Its accumulation in cells can impact a range of metabolic processes across a number of organisms, including humans . In addition, AICAR is also made during histidine synthesis and then recycled back into the purine pathway . AICAR also inhibits anabolic functioning and processes, along with promoting catabolic reactions , and it is involved in activating the AMPK complex in the body .
Figure 1. AICAR has the molecular weight of 258.2. Previously, intravenous administration of AICAR had reported a short life-life . In the cells AICAR is changed into ZMP. AICAR has the ability to activate AMPK, however it does not disrupt or disturb the energy levels of a cell. .