Berberine Attenuates Cigarette Smoke Extract-induced Airway Inflammation in Mice: Involvement of TGF-β1/Smads Signaling Pathway.
Curr Med Sci. 2019 Oct ;39(5):748-753. Epub 2019 Oct 14. PMID: 31612392
Although several studies confirmed that berberine may attenuate airway inflammation in mice with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), its underlying mechanisms were not clear until now. We aimed to establish an experiment mouse model for COPD and to investigate the effects of berberine on airway inflammation and its possible mechanism in COPD model mice induced by cigarette smoke extract (CSE). Twenty SPF C57BL/6 mice were randomly divided into PBS control group, COPD model group, low-dose berberine group and high-dose berberine group, 5 mice in each group. The neutrophils and macrophages were examined by Wright's staining. The levels of inflammatory cytokines TNF-α and IL-6 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The expression levels of TGF-β1, Smad2 and Smad3 mRNA and proteins in lung tissues were respectively detected by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and Western blotting. It was found that CSE increased the number of inflammation cells in BALF, elevated lung inflammation scores, and enhanced the TGF-β1/Smads signaling activity in mice. High-dose berberine restrained the alterations in the COPD mice induced by CSE. It was concluded that high-dose berberine ameliorated CSE-induced airway inflammation in COPD mice. TGF-β1/Smads signaling pathway might be involved in the mechanism. These findings suggested a therapeutic potential of high-dose berberine on the CSE-induced airway inflammation.