Berberine, a natural plant product, activates AMP-activated protein kinase with beneficial metabolic effects in diabetic and insulin-resistant states

  • Lee Y
  • Kim W
  • Kim K
 et al. 
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Berberine has been shown to have antidiabetic properties, although its mode of action is not known. Here, we have investigated the metabolic effects of berberine in two animal models of insulin resistance and in insulin-respon-sive cell lines. Berberine reduced body weight and caused a significant improvement in glucose tolerance without alter-ing food intake in db/db mice. Similarly, berberine reduced body weight and plasma triglycerides and improved insulin action in high-fat–fed Wistar rats. Berberine downregu-lated the expression of genes involved in lipogenesis and upregulated those involved in energy expenditure in adi-pose tissue and muscle. Berberine treatment resulted in increased AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activity in 3T3-L1 adipocytes and L6 myotubes, increased GLUT4 translocation in L6 cells in a phosphatidylinositol 3؅ kinase–independent manner, and reduced lipid accumula-tion in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. These findings suggest that berberine displays beneficial effects in the treatment of diabetes and obesity at least in part via stimulation of AMPK activity. Diabetes 55:

Author-supplied keywords

  • AICAR, 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide riboside
  • AMPK, AMP-activated protein kinase
  • DMEM, Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium
  • FAS, fatty acid synthase
  • MAPK, mitogen-activated protein kinase
  • PI, phosphatidylinositol

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  • Yun S. Lee

  • Woo S. Kim

  • Kang H. Kim

  • Myung J. Yoon

  • Hye J. Cho

  • Yun Shen

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