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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Pharmacol. | doi: 10.3389/fphar.2019.01003

Berberine ameliorates spatial learning memory impairment and modulates cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway in diabetic rats

 Kai F. Wang1,  Qingjie Chen2*, Ninghua Wu2, Yong Li2, Ruyi Zhang2, Jiawen Wang2, Di Gong1,  Xin Zou1, Chao Liu2 and  Juan Chen1
  • 1Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China
  • 2Hubei University of Science and Technology, China

Background: Cognitive impairment caused by diabetes has been recognized. Berberine is well known for its resistance to peripheral lesions, but it is rarely used for the treatment of spatial learning and memory caused by diabetes. This study explored the mechanism of berberine to alleviate cognitive impairment via the cholinergic anti-inflammatory and insulin signaling pathways.
Methods: Morris water maze was used to appraise spatial learning and memory. Positron-emission tomography (PET) imaging was adopted to detect the transport of glucose, and blood/ cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) glucose was checked using commercial blood glucose meter. Insulin level was measured by ELISA kit and β-Amyloid (Aβ) formation was observed by Congo red staining. Western-blot was performed to appraise protein expression.
Results: We found that berberine rectified some aberrant changes in signal molecules concerning inflammation, and cholinergic and insulin signaling pathways in the hippocampus. Furthermore, CSF/ blood glucose, inflammatory response or acetyl cholinesterase enzyme (AChE) activity were reduced by berberine. Additionally, acetylcholine levels were enhanced after berberine treatment in diabetic rats. Finally, Aβ formation in diabetic hippocampus was inhibited and spatial learning memory was ameliorated by berberine.
Discussion: In conclusion, berberine clears Aβ deposit and consequently ameliorates spatial learning memory impairment via the activation of the cholinergic anti-inflammatory and insulin signaling pathways in diabetic rats.

Keywords: Berberine, α7nAChR, DM, spatial learning and memory, Inflammation, Aβ

Received: 14 May 2019; Accepted: 06 Aug 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Wang, Chen, Wu, Li, Zhang, Wang, Gong, Zou, Liu and Chen. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mx. Qingjie Chen, Hubei University of Science and Technology, Xianning, China,