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J Neurosci Res. 2012 Feb;90(2):489-97. doi: 10.1002/jnr.22756. Epub 2011 Nov 3.

Effects of berberine on hippocampal neuronal damage and matrix metalloproteinase-9 activity following transient global cerebral ischemia.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, and Brain Research Institute, School of Medicine, Keimyung University, Taegu, Korea.


Berberine, an isoquinoline alkaloid with a long history of use in Chinese medicine, has several important pharmacological effects. Several studies have revealed that berberine has neuroprotective and neuropsychiatric effects. However, there are few reports regarding the protective effect of berberine against neuronal damage following transient global cerebral ischemia. In this study, mice were subjected to 20 min of global brain ischemia and sacrificed 72 hr later. Berberine was administered for 7 days prior to ischemia and daily until sacrifice. Mice treated with berberine showed reduced matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) activity. Berberine inhibited gelatinase activity directly in in situ zymography and reduced neuronal damage following global ischemia. Laminin expression and NeuN expression were markedly reduced in CA1 and CA2 areas after ischemia, and berberine reduced the laminin degradation and neuronal loss. In the TUNEL assay, damaged neurons were also apparent in the CA1 and CA2 areas, and berberine reduced TUNEL-positive cells. These data demonstrate that berberine, a plant alkaloid, may protect from hippocampal neuronal damage following transient global ischemia by reducing MMP-9 activity.

Copyright © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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