Berberine mitigates intracerebral hemorrhage-induced neuroinflammation in a gut microbiota-dependent manner in mice

Aging (Albany NY). 2023 Apr 7;15(7):2705-2720. doi: 10.18632/aging.204642. Epub 2023 Apr 7.


Background: Neuroinflammation is a frequent cause of brain damage after intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). Gut microbiota are reported to regulate neuroinflammation. Berberine has been found to have anti-inflammatory actions, including in the central nervous system. However, it is not known whether berberine regulates neuroinflammation after ICH, nor is the relationship between the antineuroinflammatory actions of berberine and the gut microbiota after ICH understood.

Methods: ICH was induced in male mice by collagenase injection. Immunofluorescent staining and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) were performed to detect microglia/macrophage phenotypes. Immunofluorescent staining, ELISA, and FITC-dextran were conducted to determine gut function. 16S rRNA sequencing of the fecal material was conducted to determine alterations in the gut microbiota. Antibiotic cocktail treatment and fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) were used to deplete or restore the gut microbiota, respectively. Cylinder, forelimb placement and wire hanging tests were conducted to evaluate neurobehavioral function.

Results: Berberine significantly reduced neuroinflammation and alleviated neurological dysfunction by preventing microglial/macrophage proinflammatory polarization in ICH mice. Berberine also enhanced the function of the intestinal barrier, as shown by reductions in the levels of lipopolysaccharide-binding protein. Neuroinflammation in ICH mice was markedly reduced after transplantation of microbiota from berberine-treated mice, similar to treatment with oral berberine. In addition, a reduction in the microbiota reversed the neuroprotective effect of berberine.

Conclusions: Berberine is a potential treatment for ICH-induced neuroinflammation, and its effects are at least partially dependent on the gut microbiota.

Keywords: berberine; gut microbiota; intracerebral hemorrhage; microglia/macrophage; neuroinflammation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Berberine* / pharmacology
  • Berberine* / therapeutic use
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / complications
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Neuroinflammatory Diseases
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S


  • Berberine
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S