Dr. Ron’s Research Review – October 26, 2011

This week’s research review: Berberine

Berberine has therapeutic potential for central nervous system disorders. (Kulkarni and Dhir 2010)

Berberine has multiple neuropharmacological properties, such as neuroprection, anti-neuronal apoptosis, improvement of cerebral microcirculation and anti-Alzheimer's disease, and so on. (Ye, Fu et al. 2009)

Recent discoveries have provided novel evidence that berberine may be considered a promising tool to counteract metabolic and cardiovascular (CV) disorders. Particularly, its demonstrated effects on the AMPK cascade, involved in CV disorders and metabolic pathways, propose berberine as a new therapeutic agent in the treatment of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. (Affuso, Mercurio et al. 2010)

Berberine reduces insulin resistance. (Dvorak and Vrzal 2011)

Dr. Ron


Articles

Cardiovascular and metabolic effects of Berberine

            (Affuso, Mercurio et al. 2010) Download

Berberine (BBR) is a natural alkaloid isolated from the Coptis Chinensis. While this plant has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for more than 2500 years, interest in its effects in metabolic and cardiovascular disease has been growing in the Western world in the last decade. Many papers have been published in these years reporting beneficial effects in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, endothelial function and the cardiovascular system. In this review, we report a detailed analysis of the scientific literature regarding this topic, describing the effects and the underlying mechanisms of BBR on carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, endothelial function and the cardiovascular system.

Berberine reduces insulin resistance: the roles for glucocorticoid receptor and aryl hydrocarbon receptor

            (Dvorak and Vrzal 2011) Download

Berberine: a plant alkaloid with therapeutic potential for central nervous system disorders

            (Kulkarni and Dhir 2010) Download

Berberine, an isoquinoline alkaloid of the protoberberine type found in an array of plants, has been used in Indian and Chinese medicines as an antimicrobial, stomachic, bitter tonic and in the treatment of oriental sores. Although pharmacological investigations of berberine have been reported by many in the past, there is renewed interest in berberine because of its reported beneficial effect in various neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders. The alkaloid is reported to modulate neurotransmitters and their receptor systems in the brain. This review attempts to discuss the pharmacological basis of the use of berberine in various central nervous system and related disorders. Its protective effect in Alzheimer's, cerebral ischemia, mental depression, schizophrenia and anxiety are highlighted. However, more detailed clinical trials along with a safety assessment of berberine are warranted for positioning the alkaloid in the treatment of neurological disorders.


Neuropharmacological and pharmacokinetic properties of berberine: a review of recent research

            (Ye, Fu et al. 2009) Download

OBJECTIVES: This review summarizes recent research on the neuropharmacological and pharmacokinetic properties of berberine, an isoquinoline alkaloid extracted from Coptidis rhizoma. KEY FINDINGS: Berberine has multiple neuropharmacological properties, such as neuroprection, anti-neuronal apoptosis, improvement of cerebral microcirculation and anti-Alzheimer's disease, and so on. The pharmacokinetic characteristics of berberine are that it is not easily absorbed and it is not stable in the gastrointestinal tract of animals or humans. SUMMARY: Further studies need to be carried out to develop berberine as a drug for nervous system diseases, such as brain ischaemia and Alzheimer's disease, that has favorable pharmacokinetic properties.


References

Affuso, F., V. Mercurio, et al. (2010). "Cardiovascular and metabolic effects of Berberine." World J Cardiol 2(4): 71-7.

Dvorak, Z. and R. Vrzal (2011). "Berberine reduces insulin resistance: the roles for glucocorticoid receptor and aryl hydrocarbon receptor." Fertil Steril 95(2): e7; author reply e8-9.

Kulkarni, S. K. and A. Dhir (2010). "Berberine: a plant alkaloid with therapeutic potential for central nervous system disorders." Phytother Res 24(3): 317-24.

Ye, M., S. Fu, et al. (2009). "Neuropharmacological and pharmacokinetic properties of berberine: a review of recent research." J Pharm Pharmacol 61(7): 831-7.