eISSN: 1896-9151
ISSN: 1734-1922
Archives of Medical Science
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vol. 9

Experimental research
Effects of berberine on β-secretase activity in a rabbit model of Alzheimer’s disease

Negar Panahi
Massoud Mahmoudian
Pejman Mortazavi
Goudarz Sadeghi Hashjin

Arch Med Sci 2013; 9, 1: 146-150
Online publish date: 2013/02/21
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Introduction: Relevant aspects of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) can be modeled by aluminium-maltolate injection into specific regions of the brain. The possible role of berberine chloride (BC) as an anti-inflammatory agent in the brain has been previously addressed.

Material and methods: Rabbits were divided into control (C), untreated lesion (L) and BC-treated + lesion (L + BC) groups. Animals in L + BC received BC (50 mg/ kg) orally 1 day after surgery and daily for 2 weeks. The lesion was induced by injection of 100 μl of either vehicle or water containing 25 mM aluminium-maltol into intraventricular fissure. Weight loss, ataxia, paralysis and tremor were monitored. For histopathology, Bielschowsky silver and H&E staining were employed. β-Secretase activity in hippocampus was finally assessed.

Results: All L animals died on days 12-15 after lesion. Seven to 10 days after lesion, abnormal symptoms as well as cachexia were seen in over 90% of cases. L rabbits lost an average of 0.5 kg which was significant on days 10 and 12 (p < 0.05); this was not completely prevented by BC. Up to day 15, all L animals had lost their lives (p < 0.001). BC treatment protected the hippocampus from degeneration, altered the behavior and decreased the activity of β-site amyloid precursor protein cleaving enzyme-1 (BACE-1).

Conclusions: Considering the findings in regard to physiological abilities, histological changes and BACE-1 activity in hippocampus changes, it is concluded that BC treatment could be an effective therapy in restoring Al maltol-induced behavioral derangements in the rabbit model of AD.

Alzheimer’s disease, berberine, hippocampus, aluminium maltolate, β-secretase

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