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Planta Med. 1999 May;65(4):381-3.

Inhibition of activator protein 1 activity by berberine in human hepatoma cells.


Activator protein 1 (AP-1) is a transcription factor which plays a critical role in inflammation and carcinogenesis. The present study was conducted to investigate the effect of berberine, an isoquinoline alkaloid present in plants of the genera Berberis and Coptis, on the activity of AP-1 using a reporter gene assay in human hepatoma cells. Berberine was shown to inhibit AP-1 activity in a dose- and time-dependent manner at concentrations higher than 0.3 microM. Berberine inhibited AP-1 activity almost completely as low as 10 microM after 48 h treatment. The inhibitory effect on AP-1 activity in cancer cells may further explain the anti-tumor promoting activity of berberine.

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