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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 289264, 12 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/289264
Review Article

Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Activities of Berberine in the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus

1Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Medicinal Biotechnology, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100050, China
2State Key Laboratory of Bioactive Natural Products and Function, Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100050, China

Received 24 November 2013; Revised 30 December 2013; Accepted 2 January 2014; Published 11 February 2014

Academic Editor: Yao Tong

Copyright © 2014 Zheng Li 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.

Abstract

Oxidative stress and inflammation are proved to be critical for the pathogenesis of diabetes mellitus. Berberine (BBR) is a natural compound isolated from plants such as Coptis chinensis and Hydrastis canadensis and with multiple pharmacological activities. Recent studies showed that BBR had antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, which contributed in part to its efficacy against diabetes mellitus. In this review, we summarized the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of BBR as well as their molecular basis. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of BBR were noted with changes in oxidative stress markers, antioxidant enzymes, and proinflammatory cytokines after BBR administration in diabetic animals. BBR inhibited oxidative stress and inflammation in a variety of tissues including liver, adipose tissue, kidney and pancreas. Mechanisms of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of BBR were complex, which involved multiple cellular kinases and signaling pathways, such as AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor-2 (Nrf2) pathway, and nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) pathway. Detailed mechanisms and pathways for the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of BBR still need further investigation. Clarification of these issues could help to understand the pharmacology of BBR in the treatment of diabetes mellitus and promote the development of antidiabetic natural products.