Berberine Down-Regulated Myostatin Expression and Facilitated Metabolism via Smad Pathway in Insulin Resistant Mice.
Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2020 ;13:4561-4569. Epub 2020 Nov 23. PMID: 33262628
Objective: To explore the effect of berberine (BBR) on skeletal muscle mass and metabolism and the possible mechanism.
Methods: Eight-week-old male C57BL/6 mice were fed with a high-fat diet (HFD) for 8 weeks to establish the insulin resistance obesity model. Then, mice were randomly divided into two groups (normal chow diet (NCD) and HFD), while NCD and HFD were further classified into two groups respectively, which were NCD+CS (Carmellose Sodium), NCD+BBR, HFD+CS and HFD+BBR. After the BBR intervention, insulin tolerance test (ITT) and glucose tolerance test (GTT) were carried out. Metabolic parameters and inflammatory biomarkers were detected. Various parts of adipose tissue and gastrocnemius were separated and measured. The gastrocnemius muscle was selected for tissue staining. The mRNA expression of myostatin (Mstn) was tested by quantitative real-time PCR (RT-PCR). Western blotting was performed to detect the expression of Mstn, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), protein kinase B (Akt), small ribonucleoprotein particle protein 2 (Smd2), small ribonucleoprotein particle protein 3 (Smd3), and small ribonucleoprotein particle protein 4 (Smd4).
Results: Both body weights (<0.01) and various parts of fat mass (<0.001) were decreased significantly, while muscle mass was increased in the HFD group after being treated with BBR. Meanwhile, the glucose and lipid metabolic disorders as well as inflammation status were improved. RT-PCR and Western blotting analysis showed that, after being fed with HFD the expression of Mstn mRNA and Mstn were significantly increased, and decreased after being treated with BBR. Western blotting analysis also showed that, compared with the NCD group, the expressions of Smad2, Smad3, and Smad4 were all increased in the HFD group, but after being treated with BBR, the expressions of Smad3 and Smad4 were decreased.
Conclusion: Our study revealed that BBR could improve metabolic disorders and inflammation status, decrease Mstn expression, and increase skeletal muscle mass, which was associated with the Smad pathway.