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Exp Ther Med. 2016 Jan;11(1):183-190. Epub 2015 Nov 9.

Effects of a combination of puerarin, baicalin and berberine on the expression of proliferator-activated receptor-γ and insulin receptor in a rat model of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

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Gastroenterology Department, Dongfang Hospital, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing 100078, P.R. China.


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a prevalent disease, with a clinical spectrum ranging from simple fatty liver disease to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and cirrhosis. Puerarin, baicalin and berberine are herbal products widely used in Asia, which are believed to possess therapeutic benefits for alleviating the symptoms of NAFLD. In the present study, a rat model of NAFLD, induced by a high-fat diet, was established and orthographical experimentation was used to investigate the effects of various combinations of puerarin, baicalin and berberine on the hepatic expression of proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-γ and insulin receptor (IR). The present study demonstrated that serum levels of total cholesterol, alanine transaminase and low-density lipoproteins were significantly decreased in the puerarin-dominated groups (P<0.05 vs. the model group), whereas the concentrations of tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-6 were significantly improved in the baicalin- and berberine-dominated groups (P<0.05 vs. the model group). Furthermore, as compared with the control group, the levels of PPAR-γ/IR mRNA and protein expression were significantly decreased in the model group (P<0.01), and significantly increased in the rosiglitazone group and some of the orthogonal experiment groups (P<0.01). In conclusion, a combination of puerarin, baicalin and berberine induced favorable effects on NAFLD by upregulating hepatic PPAR-γ and IR expression levels, and different proportions of monomer compositions exerted variable positive effects on various stages of NAFLD.


baicalin; berberine; insulin receptor; non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; proliferator-activated receptor-γ; puerarin

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