Berberine alters the processing of Alzheimer's amyloid precursor protein to decrease Abeta secretion

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2007 Jan 12;352(2):498-502. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2006.11.043. Epub 2006 Nov 15.


Berberine is an isoquinoline alkaloid isolated from Coptidis rhizoma, a major herb widely used in Chinese herbal medicine. Berberine's biological activity includes antidiarrheal, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory effects. Recent findings show that berberine prevents neuronal damage due to ischemia or oxidative stress and that it might act as a novel cholesterol-lowering compound. The accumulation of amyloid-beta peptide (Abeta) derived from amyloid precursor protein (APP) is a triggering event leading to the pathological cascade of Alzheimer's disease (AD); therefore the inhibition of Abeta production should be a rational therapeutic strategy in the prevention and treatment of AD. Here, we report that berberine reduces Abeta levels by modulating APP processing in human neuroglioma H4 cells stably expressing Swedish-type of APP at the range of berberine concentration without cellular toxicity. Our results indicate that berberine would be a promising candidate for the treatment of AD.

MeSH terms

  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism*
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / metabolism*
  • Berberine / administration & dosage*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Neuroglia / cytology*
  • Neuroglia / metabolism*


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor
  • Berberine