Can berberine enhance glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in rat islets?

Nov 03, 2008

The therapeutical actions of berberine on diabetes have been well studied. Previous researches show that berberine modulates cholesterol through increasing low-density lipoprotein receptor mRNA stability, reduces body adiposity and increases insulin sensitivity partly through activating AMP-activated protein kinase and improves glucose metabolism via induction of glycolysis. Yet, the underlying mechanism for berberine promoting insulin release remains unclear.

A research article to be published on October 21, 2008 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology addresses this question. The research team was directed by Prof. Lu from Institute of integrative traditional and western medicine of Tongji medical college.

Using glucose-stimulated insulin secretion assay, the authors first examined the action of berberine on insulin secretion. Further, the authors detected the expression of HNF4 alpha on both gene and protein levels to examine if HNF4 alpha a candidate target of berberine. The role of HNF4 alpha in mediating berberine's insulinotropic effect was further elucidated by determining the activity of Glucokinase, the "Glucose Sensor" in pancreatic beta cell, which is also deemed as one of the downstream targets of the HNFs transcription regulatory circuit in pancreatic islets.

The results demonstrate that berberine only exerts insulinotropic effect in the high glucose condition, and berberine could enhance HNF4 alpha expression and GK activity dose-dependently.

The data of the research strongly suggested a correlation among insulin secretion, HNF4α expression and GK activity. The article proposes that berberine might facilitate glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in a pathway involving HNF4 alpha, which subsequently modulats the downstream targets such as glucokinase, resulting in increased sensitivity of beta cell to glucose challenge and insulin release.

Source: World Journal of Gastroenterology

Explore further: Dual role: Key cell division proteins also power up mitochondria

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Proper stem cell function requires hydrogen sulfide

1 hour ago

Stem cells in bone marrow need to produce hydrogen sulfide in order to properly multiply and form bone tissue, according to a new study from the Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry ...

Bionic ankle 'emulates nature'

7 hours ago

These days, Hugh Herr, an associate professor of media arts and sciences at MIT, gets about 100 emails daily from people across the world interested in his bionic limbs.

Firm targets 3D printing synthetic tissues, organs

8 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—A University of Oxford spin-out, OxSyBio, will develop 3D printing techniques to produce tissue-like synthetic materials for wound healing and drug delivery. In the longer term the company ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Turning off depression in the brain

Scientists have traced vulnerability to depression-like behaviors in mice to out-of-balance electrical activity inside neurons of the brain's reward circuit and experimentally reversed it – but there's ...

Spate of Mideast virus infections raises concerns

A recent spate of infections from a frequently deadly Middle East virus is raising new worries about efforts to contain the illness, with infectious disease experts urging greater vigilance in combatting ...

Clean air: Fewer sources for self-cleaning

Up to now, HONO, also known as nitrous acid, was considered one of the most important sources of hydroxyl radicals (OH), which are regarded as the detergent of the atmosphere, allowing the air to clean itself. ...

Thinnest feasible nano-membrane produced

A new nano-membrane made out of the 'super material' graphene is extremely light and breathable. Not only can this open the door to a new generation of functional waterproof clothing, but also to ultra-rapid filtration. The ...

There's something ancient in the icebox

Glaciers are commonly thought to work like a belt sander. As they move over the land they scrape off everything—vegetation, soil, and even the top layer of bedrock. So scientists were greatly surprised ...