ABSTRACT: Berberine (BBR) is one of the main constituents in Rhizoma coptidis and it has widely been used for the treatment of diabetic nephropathy. The aims of the study were to investigate the effects and mechanism of action of berberine on renal damage in diabetic rats. Diabetes and hyperglycaemia were induced in rats by a high-fat diet and intraperitoneal injection of 40 mg/kg streptozotocin (STZ). Rats were randomly divided into 5 groups, such as i) control rats, ii) untreated diabetic rats iii) 250 mg/kg metformin-treated, iv and v) 100 and 200 mg/kg berberine-treated diabetic rats and treated separately for 8 weeks. The fasting blood glucose, insulin, total cholesterol, triglyceride, glycosylated hemoglobin were measured in rats. Kidneys were isolated at the end of the treatment for histology, Western blot analysis and estimation of malonaldehyde (MDA), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and renal advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs). The results revealed that berberine significantly decreased fasting blood glucose, insulin levels, total cholesterol, triglyceride levels, urinary protein excretion, serum creatinine (Scr) and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) in diabetic rats. The histological examinations revealed amelioration of diabetes-induced glomerular pathological changes following treatment with berberine. In addition, the protein expressions of nephrin and podocin were significantly increased. It seems likely that in rats berberine exerts an ameliorative effect on renal damage in diabetes induced by high-fat diet and streptozotocin. The possible mechanisms for the renoprotective effects of berberine may be related to inhibition of glycosylation and improvement of antioxidation that in turn upregulate the expressions of renal nephrin and podocin.
Phytomedicine: international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology 04/2012; 19(8-9):712-8. · 2.17 Impact Factor