Anticonvulsant Activity of Berberine, an Isoquinoline Alkaloid in Mice

Epilepsy Behav. 2010 Jul;18(3):207-10. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2010.03.007.


Berberine, an isoquinoline alkaloid is reported to modulate several neurotransmitter systems like N-methyl-D-aspartate, nitric oxide and serotonin, which modulate convulsions. In addition, it is suggested that Berberis vulgaris may be useful in treatment of convulsion and epilepsy. Therefore, the present study investigated the effects of berberine in pentylenetetrazole, maximal electroshock (MES) and kainic acid (KA)-induced convulsions. The latency for development of convulsions and mortality rate was recorded in these models using mice. The results revealed that in MES-induced seizures model, berberine (10 and 20 mg/kg, i.p.) decreased duration of tonic hind limb extension and percent mortality. Moreover, these doses of berberine also protected mice against KA-induced clonic convulsions and decreased mortality. Berberine also protected mice against NMDA-induced turning behavior. Further, the anticonvulsant doses of berberine did not show any signs of motor in-coordination when tested in rotarod test. In conclusion, berberine exhibits anticonvulsant activity by modulating neurotransmitter systems and may find clinical application.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use*
  • Berberine / therapeutic use*
  • Diazepam / therapeutic use
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Interactions
  • Electroshock / adverse effects
  • Kainic Acid
  • Male
  • Mice
  • N-Methylaspartate
  • Pentylenetetrazole
  • Rotarod Performance Test / methods
  • Seizures / chemically induced
  • Seizures / drug therapy*
  • Seizures / physiopathology


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Berberine
  • N-Methylaspartate
  • Diazepam
  • Kainic Acid
  • Pentylenetetrazole