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Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2010 Apr 12;317(1-2):148-53. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2009.12.027. Epub 2009 Dec 29.

Berberine modulates insulin signaling transduction in insulin-resistant cells.

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Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong, China.


Berberine has been shown to have insulin-sensitizing effect, but the molecular mechanism underlying remains elusive. In this work, we investigated the effect of berberine on insulin-induced signal transduction and glucose uptake in both insulin-sensitive and insulin-resistant rat skeletal muscle cells. Berberine increased the activity of AMPK and PKCzeta and AS160 phosphorylation in normal cells, but had little effect on PKB activation. In insulin-resistant state, berberine exhibited synergistic effect on insulin-induced glucose uptake and GLUT4 translocation. Berberine improved insulin-induced tyrosine-phosphorylation of IRS-1 and the recruitment of p85 to IRS-1. These changes were accompanied by enhancement in insulin-induced PKCzeta and PKB activity and actin remodeling. The ameliorated insulin signal transduction was related to the inhibition of mTOR by berberine, which attenuated serine-phosphorylation of IRS-1. These results suggest that berberine may overcome insulin resistance via modulating key molecules in insulin signaling pathway, leading to increased glucose uptake in insulin-resistant cells.

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