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Sci China Life Sci. 2015 Jun;58(6):564-9. doi: 10.1007/s11427-015-4829-0. Epub 2015 Mar 6.

Therapeutic potential of berberine against neurodegenerative diseases.

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Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, 30322, USA.


Berberine (BBR) is an organic small molecule isolated from various plants that have been used in traditional Chinese medicine. Isolation of this compound was its induction into modern medicine, and its usefulness became quickly apparent as seen in its ability to combat bacterial diarrhea, type 2 diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, inflammation, heart diseases, and more. However, BBR's effects on neurodegenerative diseases remained relatively unexplored until its ability to stunt Alzheimer's disease (AD) progression was characterized. In this review, we will delve into the multi-faceted defensive capabilities and bio-molecular pathways of BBR against AD, Parkinson's disease (PD), and trauma-induced neurodegeneration. The multiple effects of BBR, some of which enhance neuro-protective factors/pathways and others counteract targets that induce neurodegeneration, suggest that there are many more branches to the diverse capabilities of BBR that have yet to be uncovered. The promising results seen provide a convincing and substantial basis to support further scientific exploration and development of the therapeutic potential of BBR against neurodegenerative diseases.

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