Berberine inhibits the proliferation of human uterine leiomyoma cells

Capsule:
Berberine inhibits proliferation of leiomyoma cells and may serve as a potential therapeutic agent for the medical treatment of uterine leiomyomas.

Authors:
Hsiao-Li Wu, M.S., M.B.A., Tung-Yueh Chuang, Ph.D., Ayman Al-Hendy, M.D., Ph.D., Michael P. Diamond, M.D., Ricardo Azziz, M.D., M.B.A., M.P.H., Yen-Hao Chen, Ph.D.

Volume 103, Issue 4, Pages 1098-1106

Abstract:

Objective:
To determine whether berberine (BBR), a naturally occurring plant-derived alkaloid, inhibits the proliferation of human uterine leiomyoma (UtLM) cells.

Design:
Laboratory research.

Setting:
Laboratory.

Patient(s):
UtLM and normal human uterine smooth muscle (UtSMC) cell lines.

Intervention(s):
Treatment with [1] BBR (10, 20, and 50 μM), [2] BBR (20 and 50 μM) and/or 17β-estradiol (E2; 10 and 100 nM), and [3] BBR (20 and 50 μM) and/or progesterone (P4; 10 and 100 nM) for 24 or 72 hours.

Main Outcome Measure(s):
Cell proliferation, cell cycle, apoptosis, and related genes expression were determined.

Result(s):
BBR inhibited UtLM cell proliferation by inducing G2/M cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Cell cycle G2/M phase-related genes were altered by BBR treatment: the expression of cyclin A1, cyclin B1, and Cdk1 were down-regulated, while Cdk4, p21, and p53 were up-regulated. BBR-treated cells stained positively for annexin V and manifested increased BAX expression. E2- and P4-induced UtLM cell proliferation was blocked by BBR treatment. In marked contrast, even the highest concentration of BBR (50 μM) did not influence cell proliferation in UtSMC cells.

Conclusion(s):
BBR selectively inhibits cellular proliferation and blocks E2- and P4-induced cell proliferation in UtLM but not in normal UtSMC cells. In addition, BBR did not demonstrate cytotoxicity effects in normal human UtSMCs. Our results suggest BBR could be a potential therapeutic agent for the treatment of uterine leiomyoma.

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