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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Berberine chloride can ameliorate the spatial memory impairment and increase the expression of interleukin-1beta and inducible nitric oxide synthase in the rat model of Alzheimer's disease

Feiqi Zhu and Caiyun Qian*

Author Affiliations

The neurology department of the first affiliated hospital, Sun Yet-Sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong province, 510080, PR China

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BMC Neuroscience 2006, 7:78  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-7-78

Published: 1 December 2006



Berberine is the major alkaloidal component of Rhizoma coptidis, and has multiple pharmacological effects including inhibiting acetylcholinesterase, reducing cholesterol and glucose, lowering mortality in patients with chronic congestive heart failure and anti-inflammation etc. Thus berberine is a promising drug for diabetes, hyperlipemia, coronary artery disease and ischemic stroke etc. The present study was carried out to investigate the effect of berberine chloride on the spatial memory, inflammation factors interleukin-1 beta (IL-1beta) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression in the rat model of Alzheimer's disease (AD) which was established by injecting Abeta (1–40) (5 microgram) into the rats hippocampuses bilaterally.


The rats were given berberine chloride (50 mg/kg) by intragastric administration once daily for 14 days. The spatial memory was assayed by Morris water maze test, IL-1beta and iNOS in the hippocampus were assayed by immunohistochemistry and real time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Intragastric administration of berberine significantly ameliorated the spatial memory impairment and increased the expression of IL-1beta, iNOS in the rat model of AD.


Berberine might be beneficial to AD by intragastric administration though it might exaggerate the inflammation reaction.