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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 545898, 10 pages
Research Article

Multicomponent Therapeutics of Berberine Alkaloids

1China Military Institute of Chinese Medicine, Integrative Medical Center of 302 Military Hospital, Beijing 100039, China
2Institute of Medicinal Plant Development, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100193, China
3College of Pharmacy, Chengdu University of Chinese Traditional Medicine, Chengdu 610075, China

Received 10 December 2012; Revised 16 February 2013; Accepted 24 February 2013

Academic Editor: Yao Tong

Copyright © 2013 Jiaoyang Luo et al. 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.


Although berberine alkaloids (BAs) are reported to be with broad-spectrum antibacterial and antiviral activities, the interactions among BAs have not been elucidated. In the present study, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was chosen as a model organism, and modified broth microdilution was applied for the determination of the fluorescence absorption values to calculate the anti-MRSA activity of BAs. We have initiated four steps to seek the optimal combination of BAs that are (1) determining the anti-MRSA activity of single BA, (2) investigating the two-component combination to clarify the interactions among BAs by checkerboard assay, (3) investigating the multicomponent combination to determine the optimal ratio by quadratic rotation-orthogonal combination design, and (4) in vivo and in vitro validation of the optimal combination. The results showed that the interactions among BAs are related to their concentrations. The synergetic combinations included “berberine and epiberberine,” “jatrorrhizine and palmatine” and “jatrorrhizine and coptisine”; the antagonistic combinations included “coptisine and epiberberine”. The optimal combination was berberine : coptisine : jatrorrhizine : palmatine : epiberberine = 0.702 : 0.863 : 1 : 0.491 : 0.526, and the potency of the optimal combination on cyclophosphamide-immunocompromised mouse model was better than the natural combinations of herbs containing BAs.