Berberine and Tinospora cordifolia exert a potential anticancer effect on colon cancer cells by acting on specific pathways

Annalisa Palmieri, Luca Scapoli, Anastasia Iapichino, Laura Mercolini, Manuela Mandrone, Ferruccio Poli, Aldo Bruno Giannì, Camilla Baserga, Marcella Martinelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Berberine (BBR) is a natural active principle with potential antitumor activity. The compound targets multiple cell signaling pathways, including proliferation, differentiation, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition. The aim of this study was to elucidate the mechanisms behind the anticancer activity of BBR by comparing the effects of purified BBR with those of the extract of Tinospora cordifolia, a medicinal plant that produces this metabolite. The expression levels of a panel of 44 selected genes in human colon adenocarcinoma (HCA-7) cell line were quantified by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). BBR treatment resulted in a time- and dose-dependent down regulation of 33 genes differently involved in cell cycle, differentiation, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition. The trend was confirmed across the two types of treatment, the two time points, and the different absolute dosage of BBR. These findings suggest that the presence of BBR in T. cordifolia extract significantly contributes to its antiproliferative activity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2058738419855567
JournalInternational Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019



  • berberine
  • colorectal cancer
  • gene expression
  • liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry
  • Tinospora cordifolia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology

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