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Biomed Pharmacother. 2008 Nov;62(9):573-8. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2008.08.003. Epub 2008 Sep 4.

Berberine inhibits SDF-1-induced AML cells and leukemic stem cells migration via regulation of SDF-1 level in bone marrow stromal cells.

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  • 1Center for Stem Cell Research and Application, Union Hospital of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, 1277# Jiefang Avenue, Wuhan, Hubei 430022, PR China.


Berberine plays a prominent role on the control of tumor cell invasion and migration. SDF-1 is a homeostatic chemokine that signals through CXCR4 which is expressed by hematopoietic tumor cells. The SDF-1/CXCR4 axis is involved in the migration process of leukemic cells. In this study, we investigated the effects of berberine on the SDF-1-induced HL-60 cells, primary acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells and leukemic stem cells (LSCs) migration. Transwell migration chambers (8 microm) were used to assess the role of berberine on leukemic cell migration; Flow cytometry was used to analyze the role of berberine on the CXCR4 expression; SDF-1 protein level secreted by bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) was evaluated by ELISA. Results demonstrated that berberine could partly inhibit SDF-1-induced AML cells as well as LSCs migration. Berberine could reduce SDF-1 protein level secreted by BMSCs in the microenvironment but not affect CXCR4 expression on HL-60 cell membrane, and we hypothesized that berberine could inhibit AML cells migration partly by reducing the secreting of SDF-1 by BMSCs and inhibiting HERG1 K(+) channels of leukemic cells. Therefore, it is speculated that berberine might be a potentially effective agent for prevention of leukemia.

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