DOI: 10.3390/ijms25010219 ISSN: 1422-0067

Berberine Induces Mitophagy through Adenosine Monophosphate-Activated Protein Kinase and Ameliorates Mitochondrial Dysfunction in PINK1 Knockout Mouse Embryonic Fibroblasts

Jee-Hyun Um, Kang-Min Lee, Young-Yeon Kim, Da-Ye Lee, Eunmi Kim, Dong-Hyun Kim, Jeanho Yun
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Spectroscopy
  • Molecular Biology
  • General Medicine
  • Catalysis

Mitophagy stimulation has been shown to have a therapeutic effect on various neurodegenerative diseases. However, nontoxic mitophagy inducers are still very limited. In this study, we found that the natural alkaloid berberine exhibited mitophagy stimulation activity in various human cells. Berberine did not interfere with mitochondrial function, unlike the well-known mitophagy inducer carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenyl hydrazone (CCCP), and subsequently induced mitochondrial biogenesis. Berberine treatment induced the activation of adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK), and the AMPK inhibitor compound C abolished berberine-induced mitophagy, suggesting that AMPK activation is essential for berberine-induced mitophagy. Notably, berberine treatment reversed mitochondrial dysfunction in PINK1 knockout mouse embryonic fibroblasts. Our results suggest that berberine is a mitophagy-specific inducer and can be used as a therapeutic treatment for neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s disease, and that natural alkaloids are potential sources of mitophagy inducers.

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