Berberine improves lipid dysregulation in obesity by controlling central and peripheral AMPK activity

Woo Sik Kim, Yun Sok Lee, Seung Hun Cha, Hyun Woo Jeong, Sung Sik Choe, Mi Ran Lee, Goo Taeg Oh, Hye Sun Park, Ki Up Lee, M. Daniel Lane, Jae Bum Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

220 Scopus citations


AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) plays an important role in regulating whole body energy homeostasis. Recently, it has been demonstrated that berberine (BBR) exerts antiobesity and antidiabetic effects in obese and diabetic rodent models through the activation of AMPK in peripheral tissues. Here we show that BBR improves lipid dysregulation and fatty liver in obese mice through central and peripheral actions. In obese db/db and ob/ob mice, BBR treatment reduced liver weight, hepatic and plasma triglyceride, and cholesterol contents. In the liver and muscle of db/db mice, BBR promoted AMPK activity and fatty acid oxidation and changed expression of genes involved in lipid metabolism. Additionally, intracerebroventricular administration of BBR decreased the level of malonyl-CoA and stimulated the expression of fatty acid oxidation genes in skeletal muscle. Together, these data suggest that BBR would improve fatty liver in obese subjects, which is probably mediated not only by peripheral AMPK activation but also by neural signaling from the central nervous system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E812-E819
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2009


  • AMP-activated protein kinase
  • Fatty acid oxidation
  • Hypothalamus
  • Malonyl-coenzyme A


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