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Nat Commun. 2014 Nov 25;5:5493. doi: 10.1038/ncomms6493.

Berberine activates thermogenesis in white and brown adipose tissue.

Author information

1
Shanghai Institute of Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases, Shanghai Clinical Center for Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases, State Key Laboratory of Medical Genomics, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200025, China.
2
1] Shanghai Institute of Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases, Shanghai Clinical Center for Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases, State Key Laboratory of Medical Genomics, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200025, China [2] Department of Endocrinology, Yijishan Hospital of Wannan Medical College, Wuhu, Anhui province 241000, China.

Abstract

Obesity develops when energy intake exceeds energy expenditure. Promoting brown adipose tissue formation and function increases energy expenditure and hence may counteract obesity. Berberine (BBR) is a compound derived from the Chinese medicinal plant Coptis chinensis. Here we show that BBR increases energy expenditure, limits weight gain, improves cold tolerance and enhances brown adipose tissue (BAT) activity in obese db/db mice. BBR markedly induces the development of brown-like adipocytes in inguinal, but not epididymal adipose depots. BBR also increases expression of UCP1 and other thermogenic genes in white and BAT and primary adipocytes via a mechanism involving AMPK and PGC-1α. BBR treatment also inhibits AMPK activity in the hypothalamus, but genetic activation of AMPK in the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus does not prevent BBR-induced weight loss and activation of the thermogenic programme. Our findings establish a role for BBR in regulating organismal energy balance, which may have potential therapeutic implications for the treatment of obesity.

PMID:
25423280
DOI:
10.1038/ncomms6493
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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