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Coptis Chinensis, a Chinese herbal medicine, has been widely used in traditional Chinese medicine for a long time. Berberine, the main alkaloid of Coptis Chinensis, has been recently shown to possess extensive cardiovascular pharmacological activities. In present study, we examined the effects of Berberine on the Endothelial Cells and explored the potential underlying mechanisms.
The endothelial cells were collected and cultured in vitro. These cells sequentially were divided into four groups: Control group (treated with calf serum 250ul), Model group (treated with calf serum and Hcy), Simvastatin group (treated with calf serum, Hcyand Simvastatin) and Berbrine group (treated calf serum, Hcyand Berbrine). 0h, 24h and 48h after treatment, we measured the serum levels of cholesterol and the levels of a variety of inflammatory factors, TNF-α and IL-6. The protein and mRNA expression of GRP78, GRP94 were also detected with Western-blot and Real-time PCR.
The results showed that Berberine has the effect of anti-proliferation on endothelial cells. It reduced the levels of total cholesterol, free cholesterol and cholesterol ester in endothelial cells and its effects are comparable to that of Simvastatin. Also Berberine treatment could regulate apoptosis, reduce the level of TNF-α and IL-6, inhibit the protein and mRNA expression of GRP78, GRP94. There is no significant difference between the effects of Berbrine and Simvastatin group(P＞0.05).
In summary, our results demonstrated that Berberine significantly inhibits the proliferation of endothelial cells. Further studies indicated that Berberine regulates the metabolism of intracellular lipid, possesses anti-inflammatory effects and induces apoptosis, which may be regulated through Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress pathways.