Berberine enhances antidiabetic effects and attenuates untoward effects of canagliflozin in streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice

Chin J Nat Med. 2016 Jul;14(7):518-26. doi: 10.1016/S1875-5364(16)30061-9.


The present study aimed at determining whether berberine can enhance the antidiabetic effects and alleviate the adverse effects of canagliflozin in diabetes mellitus. Streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice were introduced, and the combined effects of berberine and canagliflozin on glucose metabolism and kidney functions were investigated. Our results showed that berberine combined with canagliflozin (BC) increased reduction of fasting and postprandial blood glucose, diet, and water intake compared with berberine or canagliflozin alone. Interestingly, BC showed greater decrease in blood urea nitrogen and creatinine levels and lower total urine glucose excretion than canagliflozin alone. In addition, BC showed increased phosphorylated 5' AMP-activated protein kinase (pAMPK) expression and decreased tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) levels in kidneys, compared with berberine or canagliflozin alone. These results indicated that BC was a stronger antidiabetic than berberine or canagliflozin alone with less negative side effects on the kidneys in the diabetic mice. The antidiabetic effect was likely to be mediated by synergically promoting the expression of pAMPK and reducing the expression of TNFα in kidneys. The present study represented the first report that canagliflozin combined with berberine was a promising treatment for diabetes mellitus. The exact underlying mechanisms of action should be investigated in future studies.

Keywords: AMP-activated protein kinase; Berberine; Canagliflozin; Diabetes mellitus; Sodium-glucose cotransporter-2.

MeSH terms

  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Berberine / administration & dosage*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Canagliflozin / administration & dosage*
  • Canagliflozin / adverse effects
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / metabolism
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Kidney / drug effects
  • Kidney / enzymology
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Streptozocin


  • Blood Glucose
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin
  • Berberine
  • Canagliflozin
  • Streptozocin
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases