Document Detail

Berberine induces apoptosis through a mitochondrial/caspase pathway in human promonocytic U937 cells.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17011159     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Berberine, an isoquinoline plant alkaloid, is known to generate a wide variety of biochemical and pharmacological effects. To elucidate the molecular mechanism of berberine-induced antiproliferative activities, the human promonocytic U937 cells were used. Berberine exhibited dose-dependent antiproliferative effects. Morphological evidence of apoptosis, including apoptotic DNA fragmentation, were observed in cells treated with 75 microg ml(-1) of berberine for 24h. Flow cytometry analysis revealed that berberine had no effect on cell cycle profile of U937 cells, however, sub-G(0) fraction (apoptotic cell population) was detected. The percentage of sub-G(0) fraction of cells treated with 75 microg ml(-1) of berberine was 25.3+/-1.6%. Berberine induces significant changes in mitochondrial membrane potential of U937 cells. The highest tested concentration of berberine decreased the mitochondrial membrane potential to 15.8+/-2.4% of control. Additionally, berberine-treated cells had an elevated level of ROS production. Activation of caspase-9 and caspase-3 was also detected, with no caspase-8 activation observed. Taken together, the results clearly demonstrate that berberine induces apoptosis of U937 cells through the mitochondrial/caspase-dependent pathway.
Sona Jantova; Lubos Cipak; Silvia Letasiova
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2006-08-25
Journal Detail:
Title:  Toxicology in vitro : an international journal published in association with BIBRA     Volume:  21     ISSN:  0887-2333     ISO Abbreviation:  Toxicol In Vitro     Publication Date:  2007 Feb 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2006-12-12     Completed Date:  2007-04-09     Revised Date:  2009-04-10    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8712158     Medline TA:  Toxicol In Vitro     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  25-31     Citation Subset:  IM    
Institute of Biochemistry, Nutrition and Health Protection, Faculty of Chemical and Food Technology, Slovak University of Technology, Radlinskeho 9, 81237 Bratislava, Slovakia.
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MeSH Terms
Apoptosis / drug effects*
Berberine / pharmacology*
Caspase 3 / metabolism,  physiology
Caspase 8 / metabolism,  physiology
Caspase 9 / metabolism,  physiology
Caspases / metabolism*
Cell Cycle / drug effects
Cell Proliferation / drug effects
Cell Survival / drug effects
DNA Fragmentation / drug effects
Membrane Potentials / drug effects
Mitochondria / enzymology,  metabolism*
Monocytes / drug effects,  enzymology,  metabolism
Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
Signal Transduction / drug effects*
U937 Cells
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Reactive Oxygen Species; 2086-83-1/Berberine; EC 3.4.22.-/Caspase 3; EC 3.4.22.-/Caspase 8; EC 3.4.22.-/Caspase 9; EC 3.4.22.-/Caspases

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