Berberine ameliorates collagen-induced arthritis in rats associated with anti-inflammatory and anti-angiogenic effects

Inflammation. 2014 Oct;37(5):1789-98. doi: 10.1007/s10753-014-9909-y.


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation and joint destruction. In this study, we explored the effect of berberine on rats with bovine type II collagen-induced arthritis (CIA), an animal model for RA. Following treatment, berberine attenuates arthritic scores and suppresses collagen-specific immune responses in CIA rats. Compared with the un-treated CIA group, berberine reversed pathological changes, which showed a significant improvement in synovial hyperplasia and inflammatory infiltration. The expression levels of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-17 and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) were obviously reduced in the sera of berberine-treated rats (all P<0.05). Moreover, berberine showed marked inhibition of the expression of VEGF and CD34 (all P<0.05). Interestingly, berberine significantly suppresses p-ERK, p-p38 and p-JNK activation (all P<0.05), which may partially explain the anti-RA activity of berberine. These results suggest that berberine ameliorates CIA in rats associated with anti-inflammatory and anti-angiogenic effects, which might be of great therapeutic value for RA.

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Experimental / chemically induced
  • Arthritis, Experimental / pathology*
  • Arthritis, Experimental / prevention & control*
  • Berberine / therapeutic use*
  • Cattle
  • Collagen Type II / toxicity*
  • Female
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Collagen Type II
  • Berberine