Neurochemical Research

, Volume 43, Issue 9, pp 1814–1825 | Cite as

Berberine Protects Secondary Injury in Mice with Traumatic Brain Injury Through Anti-oxidative and Anti-inflammatory Modulation

  • Shu-Xuan Huang
  • Guozhen Qiu
  • Fu-Rong Cheng
  • Zhong Pei
  • Zhi Yang
  • Xu-Hui Deng
  • Jin-Hua Zhu
  • Lue Chen
  • Chun-Chun Chen
  • Wei-Feng Lin
  • Yuan Liu
  • Zhengshan Liu
  • Fei-Qi ZhuEmail author
Original Paper


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the major causes of death and disability worldwide. Novel and effective therapy is needed to prevent the secondary spread of damage beyond the initial injury. The aim of this study was to investigate whether berberine has a neuroprotective effect on secondary injury post-TBI, and to explore its potential mechanism in this protection. The mice were randomly divided into Sham-saline, TBI-saline and TBI-Berberine (50 mg/kg). TBI was induced by Feeney’s weight-drop technique. Saline or berberine was administered via oral gavage starting 1 h post-TBI and continuously for 21 days. Motor coordination, spatial learning and memory were assessed using beam-walking test and Morris water maze test, respectively. Brain sections were processed for lesion volume assessment, and expression of neuronal nuclei (NeuN), cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), ionized calcium-binding adapter molecule 1 (Iba1) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) were detected via immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence. There were statistically significant improvement in motor coordination, spatial learning and memory in the TBI-Berberine group, compared to the TBI-saline group. Treatment with berberine significantly reduced cortical lesion volume, neuronal loss, COX-2, iNOS and 8-OHdG expression in both the cortical lesion border zone (LBZ) and ipsilateral hippocampal CA1 region (CA1), compared to TBI-saline. Berberine treatment also significantly decreased Iba1- and GFAP-positive cell number in both the cortical LBZ and ipsilateral CA1, relative to saline controls. These results indicated that berberine exerted neuroprotective effects on secondary injury in mice with TBI probably through anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties.


Traumatic brain injury Berberine Oxidative stress Inflammatory Secondary injury 



This work was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province China (S2013010015786), (2015A030310294) and the Natural Science Foundation of Shaoguan City, Guangdong Province, China (2010-01).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shu-Xuan Huang
    • 2
    • 3
  • Guozhen Qiu
    • 1
  • Fu-Rong Cheng
    • 4
  • Zhong Pei
    • 5
  • Zhi Yang
    • 2
  • Xu-Hui Deng
    • 2
  • Jin-Hua Zhu
    • 2
  • Lue Chen
    • 6
  • Chun-Chun Chen
    • 1
  • Wei-Feng Lin
    • 2
  • Yuan Liu
    • 7
  • Zhengshan Liu
    • 8
  • Fei-Qi Zhu
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Cognitive Impairment Ward of Neurology DepartmentThe Third Affiliated Hospital of Shenzhen UniversityShenzhenChina
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyThe Affiliated Yuebei People’s Hospital of Shantou UniversityShaoguanChina
  3. 3.Department of NeurologyThe First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical UniversityGuangzhouChina
  4. 4.Luohu District Health and Family Planning BureauShenzhenChina
  5. 5.Department of NeurologySun Yat-sen University First Affiliated HospitalGuangzhouChina
  6. 6.Department of NeurologyThe Affiliated Shunde First People’s Hospital of Southern Medical UniversityFoshanChina
  7. 7.Department of NeurologyThird Hospital of HangzhouHangzhouChina
  8. 8.Department of Neurology and Center for Translational NeuromedicineUniversity of Rochester Medical CenterRochesterUSA

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