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nightsurfer on 2009-12-01Mechanisms of berberine (natural yellow 18)-induced mitochondrial dysfunction: interaction with the adenine nucleotide translocator.
Pereira CV, Machado NG, Oliveira PJ.
Toxicol Sci. 2008 Oct;105(2):408-17. Epub 2008 Jul 3.
The data from the present work appear to show that berberine also presents some degree of toxicity to "nontumor" systems, which should be carefully understood. ANT inhibition in nontumor cells by berberine would be responsible for a decrease in energy production and could also result in MPT induction. To the best of our knowledge, no full toxicity assessment exists for berberine in humans, although its use in several commercially available supplements suggests that the compound may present a relatively wide safety interval. In fact, a study with patients with congestive heart failure treated with 1.2 g/day of oral berberine revealed low toxicity and resulted into an average plasma concentration of 0.11 mg/l which would translate into 0.3µM (Zeng and Zeng, 1999Go). Repeated cumulative treatments, alternative forms of formulation (e.g., topical application vs. injection) or more importantly, active mitochondrial accumulation due to its positive charge would be expected to increase its concentration in cells into the range of concentrations used in this study.
Empirical data from nontraditional medicines plus the use of extensive clinical assays would allow the use of berberine as a promising antimelanoma agent while maintaining its safety for humans. In radial/vertical forms of melanoma, a possible topical application of berberine would also be possible, thus minimizing side effects on other organs.
In conclusion, the present work identifies the ANT as an important target for berberine, with clear relevance for its proposed antitumor effects.