Abstract Title:

Berberine reduces insulin resistance through protein kinase C-dependent up-regulation of insulin receptor expression.

Abstract Source:

Metabolism. 2009 Jan;58(1):109-19. PMID: 19059538

Abstract Author(s):

Wei-Jia Kong, Hao Zhang, Dan-Qing Song, Rong Xue, Wei Zhao, Jing Wei, Yue-Ming Wang, Ning Shan, Zhen-Xian Zhou, Peng Yang, Xue-Fu You, Zhuo-Rong Li, Shu-Yi Si, Li-Xun Zhao, Huai-Ning Pan, Jian-Dong Jiang

Article Affiliation:

Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Medicinal Biotechnology, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100050, China.


Natural product berberine (BBR) has been reported to have hypoglycemic and insulin-sensitizing activities; however, its mechanism remains unclear. This study was designed to investigate the molecular mechanism of BBR against insulin resistance. Here, we identify insulin receptor (InsR) as a target of BBR to increase insulin sensitivity. In cultured human liver cells, BBR increased InsR messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein expression in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Berberine increased InsR expression in the L6 rat skeletal muscle cells as well. Berberine-enhanced InsR expression improved cellular glucose consumption only in the presence of insulin. Silencing InsR gene with small interfering RNA or blocking the phosphoinositol-3-kinase diminished this effect. Berberine induced InsR gene expression through a protein kinase C (PKC)-dependent activation of its promoter. Inhibition of PKC abolished BBR-caused InsR promoter activation and InsR mRNA transcription. In animal models, treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus rats with BBR lowered fasting blood glucose and fasting serum insulin, increased insulin sensitivity, and elevated InsR mRNA as well as PKC activity in the liver. In addition, BBR lowered blood glucose in KK-Ay type 2 but not in NOD/LtJ type 1 diabetes mellitus mice that were insulin deficient. Our results suggest that BBR is a unique natural medicine against insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome.

Study Type : Animal Study

Print Options

Key Research Topics

Sayer Ji
Founder of GreenMedInfo.com

Subscribe to our informative Newsletter & get Nature's Evidence-Based Pharmacy

Our newsletter serves 500,000 with essential news, research & healthy tips, daily.

Download Now

500+ pages of Natural Medicine Alternatives and Information.

This website is for information purposes only. By providing the information contained herein we are not diagnosing, treating, curing, mitigating, or preventing any type of disease or medical condition. Before beginning any type of natural, integrative or conventional treatment regimen, it is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.

© Copyright 2008-2022 GreenMedInfo.com, Journal Articles copyright of original owners, MeSH copyright NLM.