Berberine is an isoquinoline with anti-inflammatory activity. We previously demonstrated that there was a loop of signal amplification between nuclear factor kappa B and Src for macrophage mobility triggered by the engagement of Toll-like receptors (TLRs). The simultaneous suppression of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-mediated upregulation of inducible nitric oxide synthase, cyclooxygenase 2, and cell mobility in berberine-treated macrophages suggested Src might be a target of berberine. Indeed, th reduced migration, greatly suppressed Src induction in both protein and RNA transcript by berberine were observed in macrophages exposed to LPS, peptidoglycan, polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid, and CpG-oligodeoxynucleotides. In addition to Src induction, berberine also inhibited LPS-mediated Src activation in Src overexpressing macrophages and S-nitroso-N-acetylpenicillamine (a nitric oxide donor) could partly restore it. Moreover, berberine suppressed Src activity in fibronectin-stimulated macrophages and in v-Src transformed cells. These results implied that by effectively reducing Src expression and activity, berberine inhibited TLR-mediated cell motility in macrophages.
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