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Combating Neurodegenerative Diseases with the Plant Alkaloid Berberine: Molecular Mechanisms and Therapeutic Potential

[ Vol. 17 , Issue. 6 ]


Dahua Fan, Liping Liu, Zhengzhi Wu* and Meiqun Cao*   Pages 563 - 579 ( 17 )


Neurodegenerative diseases are among the most serious health problems affecting millions of people worldwide. Such diseases are characterized by a progressive degeneration and / or death of neurons in the central nervous system. Currently, there are no therapeutic approaches to cure or even halt the progression of neurodegenerative diseases. During the last two decades, much attention has been paid to the neuroprotective and anti-neurodegenerative activities of compounds isolated from natural products with high efficacy and low toxicity. Accumulating evidence indicates that berberine, an isoquinoline alkaloid isolated from traditional Chinese medicinal herbs, may act as a promising anti-neurodegenerative agent by inhibiting the activity of the most important pathogenic enzymes, ameliorating intracellular oxidative stress, attenuating neuroinflammation, triggering autophagy and protecting neurons against apoptotic cell death. This review attempts to summarize the current state of knowledge regarding the therapeutic potential of berberine against neurodegenerative diseases, with a focus on the molecular mechanisms that underlie its effects on Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases.


Neurodegenerative diseases, berberine, neuroprotection, oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, autophagy.


The Eighth Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Shenzhen, Guangdong, Department of Hepatobiliary and Pancreas Surgery, Shenzhen People's Hospital, The Second Clinical Medical College of Jinan University, Shenzhen, Guangdong, The Eighth Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Shenzhen, Guangdong, Shenzhen Second People's Hospital, The First Affiliated Hospital of Shenzhen University, Shenzhen, Guangdong

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