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Planta Med. 2003 Jul;69(7):632-6.

The antihyperglycaemic activity of berberine arises from a decrease of glucose absorption.

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Center of Pharmacokinetics, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing, China.


The mechanism of action of berberine as an antihyperglycaemic agent was investigated in the Caco-2 cell line. Berberine was found to effectively inhibit the activity of disaccharidases in Caco-2 cells. It also decreased sucrase activity after preincubation with Caco-2 cells for 72 hours. However gluconeogenesis and glucose consumption of Caco-2 cells were not influenced. 2-Deoxyglucose transporting through Caco-2 cell monolayers was decreased by berberine but the effect was not statistically significant. These results suggest that the antihyperglycaemic activity of berberine is at least partly due to its ability to inhibit alpha-glucosidase and decrease glucose transport through the intestinal epithelium.

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