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Biol Pharm Bull. 2008 Apr;31(4):558-62.

Berberine induces G1 arrest and apoptosis in human glioblastoma T98G cells through mitochondrial/caspases pathway.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Wonkwang University Hospital, 344-2 Shinyoung-dong, Iksan, Jeonbuk 570-711, Korea.


Berberine is an isoquinoline plant alkaloid with a long history of being used for the treatment of many diseases in Chinese herbal medicine. Berberine has a wide range of biochemical and pharmacological effects, including antitumor activities, but its mechanism of action is not clearly understood. In this study, we investigated that the relationship between the antiproliferative activities of berberine and the apoptotic pathway associated with its molecular mechanism of action in human glioblastoma T98G cells. Berberine treatment of T98G cell lines inhibited cell proliferation and induced cell death in a dose (50-200 microg/ml) dependent manner with an IC50 value of 134 microg/ml, which was associated with an increase in G1 arrest. Western blot analysis showed that the berberine-induced G1 arrest was mediated through the increased expression of P27 and the decreased expression of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 2, CDK4, cyclin D, and cyclin E proteins. Berberine treatment also markedly enhanced apoptosis in T98G cells through the induction of a higher ratio of the Bax/Bcl-2 proteins, the disruption of mitochondrial membrane potential, and the activation of procaspase-9, caspase-9, caspase-3, and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP). Berberine can inhibit T98G cell proliferation by inducing G1 arrest and apoptosis. These results demonstrate that the berberine-induced apoptosis of T98G cells is primarily mediated through the mitochondrial/caspases-dependent pathway.

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