Berberine alleviates ischemic arrhythmias via recovering depressed I(to) and I(Ca) currents in diabetic rats

Phytomedicine. 2012 Feb 15;19(3-4):206-10. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2011.11.002. Epub 2011 Dec 19.


The present study was designed to elucidate the potential mechanism underlying that berberine suppressed ischemic arrhythmias in a rat model of diabetes mellitus (DM). Streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats were subjected to ischemia by the occlusion of left anterior descending (LAD) coronary artery. Berberine was orally administered for 7 days before ischemic injury in diabetic rats. Whole-cell patch-clamp was performed to measure the transient outward K⁺ current (I(to)) and L-type Ca²⁺ current (I(Ca)). Results showed that oral administration of berberine (100 mg/kg) attenuated ischemia-induced arrhythmias in diabetic rats. Berberine significantly shortened the prolonged QTc interval from 214 ± 6ms to 189 ± 5ms in ischemic diabetic rats, and also restored the diminished I(to) and I(Ca) current densities in the same animal model rats. In conclusion, the ability of berberine to protect diabetic rats against cardiac arrhythmias makes it possible to be a prospective therapeutic agent in clinical management of cardiac disease secondary to diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / drug therapy*
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / metabolism
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / pathology
  • Berberine / administration & dosage*
  • Berberine / pharmacology
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calcium Channels, L-Type / metabolism*
  • Coronary Vessels / drug effects
  • Coronary Vessels / metabolism
  • Coronary Vessels / pathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / physiopathology
  • Electrophysiological Phenomena
  • Male
  • Myocardial Infarction / drug therapy*
  • Myocardial Infarction / metabolism
  • Myocardial Infarction / pathology
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Potassium / metabolism
  • Potassium Channels / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Calcium Channels, L-Type
  • Potassium Channels
  • Berberine
  • Potassium
  • Calcium