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Pharmacol Rep. 2015 Oct;67(5):970-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pharep.2015.03.002. Epub 2015 Mar 18.

Berberine and neurodegeneration: A review of literature.

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Atta-ur-Rahman School of Applied Biosciences, National University of Sciences and Technology, Islamabad, Pakistan.
Department of Pharmacy, College of Health Sciences, Mekelle University, Mekelle, Ethiopia; Natural Product Research Division, Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Aga Khan University Medical College, Karachi, Pakistan.
Department of Toxicology and Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Department of Drug Sciences, Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Technology Section, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.
Applied Biotechnology Research Center, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Applied Biotechnology Research Center, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran. Electronic address:


The excessive production of reactive oxygen species in nervous tissues is considered one of the major risk factors of neurodegenerative diseases. During the last two decades, much attention has been paid to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity of natural products and compounds isolated from natural products which are often characterized by high efficacy and low adverse effects. Berberine is an isoquinoline alkaloid, widely present in different medicinal herbs, especially in the genus Berberis. It is mainly used as antidiarrhoeal, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiprotozoal agent. However, current research has focused on its beneficial role in neurodegenerative diseases, mainly due to its powerful antioxidant effect. The therapeutic potential of Berberine in different neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer, Parkinson and Huntington disease has been brought to evidence by numerous studies. However, a limited number of reviews focus on the beneficial role of Berberine against neurodegeneration. The main objective of this review is to discuss the role of oxidative stress in neurodegeneration and the potential role of antioxidant compounds, in particular Berberine which is analyzed in its chemical structure, source, bioavailability, therapeutic potential, with special attention to its mechanism of action at a molecular level.


Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases; Antioxidant compounds; Berberine; Neurodegeneration; Oxidative stress

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