Aim: To study the absorption characteristics of berberine and its influence on glucose absorption.
Methods: Rat recirculating perfusion model was used to study berberine absorption characteristics and Caco-2 cell model was used to explore the influence of berberine on disaccharidase, using HPLC to assay the appearance of glucose to indicate enzyme activities.
Results: Berberine was found to be hardly absorbed in the intestine (less than 5% in 2.5 h). However, sucrase and maltase activities were found to be inhibited by berberine, its ID50 to sucrase is 1.830 mg.L-1, and showed no dose dependent influence on maltase activity. Berberine also showed influence on glucose absorption. However, this effect is not significant.
Conclusion: Berberine may act as an alpha-glucosidase inhibitor, which is its main mechanism in diabetes treatment.