Activation of AMPK by berberine promotes adiponectin multimerization in 3T3-L1 adipocytes

FEBS Lett. 2011 Jun 23;585(12):1735-40. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2011.04.051. Epub 2011 Apr 27.


Adiponectin is assembled into trimer (LMW), hexamer (MMW) and high-molecular-weight (HMW) multimer in adipocytes. The HMW adiponectin is more metabolically active and closely associated with peripheral insulin sensitivity. In this study, we reported that berberine, an isoquinoline alkaloid with insulin-sensitizing effect, inhibits the expression of adiponectin, but promotes the assembly of HMW adiponectin and increases the ratio of HMW to total adiponectin. Berberine activates AMPK. Knockdown of AMPKα1 abolishes the effect of berberine. Activation of AMPK by AICAR also increases the level of HMW adiponectin. Our study suggested that activation of AMPK by berberine promotes adiponectin multimerization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3-L1 Cells
  • Adiponectin / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Berberine / pharmacology*
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Mice
  • Molecular Weight
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Protein Kinases / physiology
  • Protein Multimerization / drug effects*


  • Adiponectin
  • Berberine
  • Protein Kinases
  • AMP-activated protein kinase kinase