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Inflammation. 2013 Oct;36(5):1079-86. doi: 10.1007/s10753-013-9640-0.

Berberine attenuates cigarette smoke-induced acute lung inflammation.

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Institute of Respiratory Diseases, the Second Affiliated Hospital of the Third Military Medical University, 183 Xinqiao Street, Shapingba District, Chongqing, 400037, China.


Berberine (Ber), the major constituent of Coptidis Rhizoma, possesses anti-inflammatory properties. In this study, we investigated the effects of Ber on cigarette smoke (CS)-mediated acute lung inflammation. C57BL/6 mice (6-8 weeks) were exposed to CS to induce acute lung injury. Ber was used to pretreat CS-exposed mice (50 mg/kg, intragastrically). Lung tissues were collected for histological examination, myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity assay, Western blot analysis, and electrophoretic mobility shift assay. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) was measured for cell counts and cytokine analysis. Histological examination showed that CS exposure caused infiltration of inflammatory cells into alveolar spaces and interstitial edema. Pretreatment with Ber significantly attenuated CS-induced lung inflammation. The numbers of total cells, macrophages, and neutrophils in BALF were decreased by 43, 40, and 53 %, respectively, by Ber pretreatment in CS-exposed mice, accompanied by decreased MPO activity, a marker of neutrophil accumulation. Ber pretreatment also profoundly diminished CS-induced secretions of macrophage inflammatory protein 2, tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin-6, and monocyte chemotactic protein-1 in BALF, along with less nuclear translocation of the pro-inflammatory transcription factor nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) p65 subunit and lower NF-κB DNA-binding activity (P < 0.01). Thus, our results indicated that Ber ameliorates CS-induced acute lung injury through its anti-inflammatory activity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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