Effect and mechanism of berberine against polycystic ovary syndrome

Biomed Pharmacother. 2021 Jun:138:111468. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2021.111468. Epub 2021 Mar 16.


For women of reproductive age, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is not a rare heterogeneous endocrine disorder and metabolic dysfunction. Menstrual problems, hyperandrogenism, polycystic ovary (PCO) and infertility often affect these women, and they are also prone to metabolic syndrome (MS) and insulin resistance (IR). As an isoquinoline alkaloid, Berberine (BBR) is the main effective component of Coptis. BBR, as a multi-target, multi-path plant extract, can interfere with the development of PCOS and relate to pathological process from many aspects, with less adverse reactions. It is mentioned in this review that BBR can alleviate IR, reduce the level of serum androgen, regulate lipid metabolism and moderate chronic inflammation. BBR is often used in combination with metformin, compound cyproterone (CPA) and other drugs, in order to achieve better therapeutic effect on PCOS.

Keywords: Berberine; Hyperandrogenism; Insulin resistance; Lipid metabolism; Polycystic ovary syndrome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Berberine / chemistry
  • Berberine / metabolism*
  • Berberine / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Metabolic Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Metabolic Syndrome / metabolism
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Berberine