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J Microbiol. 2011 Oct;49(5):834-40. doi: 10.1007/s12275-011-1051-z. Epub 2011 Nov 9.

Berberine inhibits HEp-2 cell invasion induced by Chlamydophila pneumoniae infection.

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  • 1Department of Pathophysiology, Basic Medical School of Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin, 300070, P. R. China.


This study investigated the inhibitory effects of berberine on Chlamydophila (Chlamydia) pneumoniae infection-induced HEp-2 cell invasion and explored the possible mechanisms involved in this process. C. pneumoniae infection resulted in a significant increase in HEp-2 cell invasion when compared with the control cells (P<0.01) in a Matrigel invasion assay. This enhanced cell invasion was strongly suppressed by berberine (50 μM) (P<0.01). In a cell adhesion assay, the infection-induced HEp-2 cell adhesion to Matrigel was also significantly inhibited by berberine (P<0.01). C. pneumoniae infection was found to promote HEp-2 cell migration remarkably (P<0.01), which was markedly suppressed by berberine (P<0.01) in the cell migration assays. There were no statistically significant differences in the expression of matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) and MMP-9 in the infected cells and berberine did not change the expression of MMP-1 and MMP-9. These data suggest that berberine inhibits C. pneumoniae infection-induced HEp-2 cell invasion through suppressing HEp-2 cell adhesion and migration, but not through changing the expression of MMP-1 and MMP-9.

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