Berberine combined with cyclosporine A alleviates acute graft-versus-host disease in murine models.
Int Immunopharmacol. 2020 Feb 9 ;81:106205. Epub 2020 Feb 9. PMID: 32050154
Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) causes significant mortality after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT). Berberine (BBR) is primarily used to alleviate inflammation caused by autoimmune disorders. Herein the effect of BBR and cyclosporine A (CsA) on GVHD prevention in murine models is explored. Acute GVHD was induced by total body irradiation and tail vein injection with the mixture of bone marrow cells and spleen lymphocytes. Then models were treated with BBR (10 mg/kg), CsA (5 mg/kg) or the combination of BBR and CsA (10 mg/kg and 5 mg/kg) once a day for 10 days. The survival rate, weight loss and GVHD index were monitored. Then the histological changes, alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) activities, apoptosis and thelevels of inflammatory cytokines, oxidative stress and nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) signaling in liver and intestine were analyzed. Moreover, the levels of inflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress, and the count of T helper 1 (Th1) cells and Th17 cells in peripheral blood were determined. The results showed that BBR reduced GVHD-induced weight loss and GVHD index scores, attenuated liver and intestinal injury, and inhibited ALT and AST activities, inflammation, oxidative stress and NF-κB activation in liver and intestine. Additionally, BBR inhibited inflammation and reduced Th1 cell countsbut had no effect on Th17 cell counts. Interestingly, the concomitant therapy of BBR and CsA was more potent than either BBR or CsA and effectively elevated the survival rate of GVHD models. This present study provides a new therapeutic strategy for alleviation of acute GVHD.