New insights into mechanisms of berberine in alleviating reproductive disorders of polycystic ovary syndrome: Anti-inflammatory properties

Eur J Pharmacol. 2023 Jan 15:939:175433. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2022.175433. Epub 2022 Dec 16.


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a complex reproductive disorder that seriously harms female reproductive health and decreases quality of life. Although spontaneous or assisted ovulation occurs, women with PCOS suffer from poor-quality oocytes and embryos and lower fertilization and final pregnancy rates. Therefore, it is urgent to identify new pathological mechanisms and discover the underlying therapeutic targets for reproductive disorders associated with PCOS. Berberine, one of the famous traditional Chinese medicines, has been shown to improve ovulation and live birth rates in women with PCOS. The effects of berberine on insulin resistance and abnormal glucose and lipid metabolism for restoring the reproductive health of women with PCOS are well recognized and have been widely studied, but much less attention has been given to its anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic low-grade inflammation is the unifying feature of PCOS and may contribute to reproductive disorders in PCOS. Berberine can modulate the inflammatory state of the ovaries and uterus in PCOS. The anti-inflammatory properties of berberine may provide new insight into the mechanisms by which berberine alleviates reproductive disorders associated with PCOS. Here, we summarized the most recent insights into the anti-inflammatory properties of berberine in PCOS reproductive disorders to inspire researchers to pursue new study directions involving berberine.

Keywords: Berberine; Inflammation; Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS); Reactive oxygen species; Reproductive disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Berberine* / pharmacology
  • Berberine* / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome* / complications
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome* / drug therapy
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome* / metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Rate
  • Quality of Life


  • Berberine
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents