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Berberine inhibits inflammatory mediators and attenuates acute pancreatitis through deactivation of JNK signaling pathways

Choi, Sun-Bok, Bae, Gi-Sang, Jo, Il-Joo, Wang, Shaofan, Song, Ho-Joon, Park, Sung-Joo
Molecular Immunology 2016 v.74 pp. 27-38
anti-inflammatory activity, arginine, berberine, blood sampling, blood serum, carboxylic ester hydrolases, cytokines, inducible nitric oxide synthase, mice, mitogen-activated protein kinase, models, myeloperoxidase, nitric oxide, pancreas, pancreatitis, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, signal transduction
Acute pancreatitis (AP) is a life-threatening disease. Berberine (BBR), a well-known plant alkaloid, is reported to have anti-inflammatory activity in many diseases. However, the effects of BBR on AP have not been clearly elucidated. Therefore, the present study aimed to investigate the effects of BBR on cerulein-induced AP in mice. AP was induced by either cerulein or l-arginine. In the BBR treated group, BBR was administered intraperitoneally 1h before the first cerulein or l-arginine injection. Blood samples were obtained to determine serum amylase and lipase activities and nitric oxide production. The pancreas and lung were rapidly removed for examination of histologic changes, myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity, and real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Furthermore, the regulating mechanisms of BBR were evaluated. Treatment of mice with BBR reduced pancreatic injury and activities of amylase, lipase, and pancreatitis-associated lung injury, as well as inhibited several inflammatory parameters such as the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and inducible nitric oxide synthesis (iNOS). Furthermore, BBR administration significantly inhibited c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) activation in the cerulein-induced AP. Deactivation of JNK resulted in amelioration of pancreatitis and the inhibition of inflammatory mediators. These results suggest that BBR exerts anti-inflammatory effects on AP via JNK deactivation on mild and severe acute pancreatitis model, and could be a beneficial target in the management of AP.