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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 612684, 1 page
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/612684
Letter to the Editor

Comment on “Berberine and Its Emerging Benefits in Psychiatric Conditions Especially Alzheimer's Disease”

Mechanicsville Hospital, Mechanicsville, VA 23223, USA

Received 11 December 2012; Accepted 1 April 2013

Copyright © 2013 Shailendra Kapoor. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


I read with great interest the recent paper by Ji and Shen [1]. Berberine may be of considerable benefit in a number of psychiatric disorders especially in Alzheimer's disease.

Berberine inhibits the activation of nuclear factor kappaB by blocking the “mitogen-activated protein kinase” pathway [2]. Simultaneous inhibition of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase/protein kinase B pathway is also seen. Tau phosphorylation is also significantly attenuated. As a consequence, amyloid-beta peptide-stimulated production of IL-6 is markedly attenuated resulting in a significant reduction in neuroinflammation. Besides this, berberine markedly attenuates glycogen synthase kinase-3 activity [3]. Berberine also has an attenuating effect on the C-terminal fragments of amyloid precursor protein, thereby ultimately reversing learning defects in animal models. Berberine also activates the ERK1/2 pathway, thereby attenuating the expression of beta secretase which in turn further decreases the beta-amyloid production [4, 5]. Similarly, berberine exerts antidepressant effects in animal models. It mediates this function by altering intracranial dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine levels [6]. Its antidepressant effect is also mediated by and modulation of the nitric oxide pathway.

The above examples clearly illustrate the emerging role of berberine in psychiatry and the need for further studies in this regard.

References

  1. H. F. Ji and L. Shen, “Molecular basis of inhibitory activities of berberine against pathogenic enzymes in Alzheimer's disease,” The Scientific World Journal, vol. 2012, Article ID 823201, 4 pages, 2012. View at Publisher · View at Google Scholar
  2. L. Jia, J. Liu, Z. Song, et al., “Berberine suppresses amyloid-beta-induced inflammatory response in microglia by inhibiting nuclear factor-kappaB and mitogen-activated protein kinase signalling pathways,” Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, vol. 64, pp. 1510–1521, 2012.
  3. S. S. Durairajan, L. F. Liu, J. H. Lu, et al., “Berberine ameliorates beta-amyloid pathology, gliosis, and cognitive impairment in an Alzheimer's disease transgenic mouse model,” Neurobiology of Aging, vol. 33, pp. 2903–2919, 2012.
  4. F. Zhu, F. Wu, Y. Ma, et al., “Decrease in the production of beta-amyloid by berberine inhibition of the expression of beta-secretase in HEK293 cells,” BMC Neuroscience, vol. 12, article 125, 2011.
  5. M. Asai, N. Iwata, A. Yoshikawa et al., “Berberine alters the processing of Alzheimer's amyloid precursor protein to decrease Aβ secretion,” Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, vol. 352, no. 2, pp. 498–502, 2007. View at Publisher · View at Google Scholar · View at Scopus
  6. S. K. Kulkarni and A. Dhir, “On the mechanism of antidepressant-like action of berberine chloride,” European Journal of Pharmacology, vol. 589, no. 1-3, pp. 163–172, 2008. View at Publisher · View at Google Scholar · View at Scopus