Int J Biol Sci 2021; 17(7):1693-1707. doi:10.7150/ijbs.54604

Research Paper

Berberine alleviates lipid metabolism disorders via inhibition of mitochondrial complex I in gut and liver

Muyu Yu1, Miriayi Alimujiang1, Lili Hu1, Fang Liu1, Yuqian Bao1, Jun Yin1,2✉

1. Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Shanghai Jiao Tong University Affiliated Sixth People's Hospital, Shanghai Clinical Center for Metabolic Diseases, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Diabetes Mellitus, Shanghai Diabetes Institute, 600 Yishan Road, Shanghai, 200233, China.
2. Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Shanghai Eighth People's Hospital, Shanghai, 200235, China.

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Citation:
Yu M, Alimujiang M, Hu L, Liu F, Bao Y, Yin J. Berberine alleviates lipid metabolism disorders via inhibition of mitochondrial complex I in gut and liver. Int J Biol Sci 2021; 17(7):1693-1707. doi:10.7150/ijbs.54604. Available from https://www.ijbs.com/v17p1693.htm

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Abstract

This study is to investigate the relationship between berberine (BBR) and mitochondrial complex I in lipid metabolism. BBR reversed high-fat diet-induced obesity, hepatic steatosis, hyperlipidemia and insulin resistance in mice. Fatty acid consumption, β-oxidation and lipogenesis were attenuated in liver after BBR treatment which may be through reduction in SCD1, FABP1, CD36 and CPT1A. BBR promoted fecal lipid excretion, which may result from the reduction in intestinal CD36 and SCD1. Moreover, BBR inhibited mitochondrial complex I-dependent oxygen consumption and ATP synthesis of liver and gut, but no impact on activities of complex II, III and IV. BBR ameliorated mitochondrial swelling, facilitated mitochondrial fusion, and reduced mtDNA and citrate synthase activity. BBR decreased the abundance and diversity of gut microbiome. However, no change in metabolism of recipient mice was observed after fecal microbiota transplantation from BBR treated mice. In primary hepatocytes, BBR and AMPK activator A769662 normalized oleic acid-induced lipid deposition. Although both the agents activated AMPK, BBR decreased oxygen consumption whereas A769662 increased it. Collectively, these findings indicated that BBR repressed complex I in gut and liver and consequently inhibited lipid metabolism which led to alleviation of obesity and fatty liver. This process was independent of intestinal bacteria.

Keywords: dyslipidemias, NAFLD, diabetes, oxidative phosphorylation, lipid synthesis, fatty acid uptake