Potential application of berberine in the treatment of Escherichia coli sepsis

Elisa Pierpaoli, Oscar Cirioni, Oriana Simonetti, Fiorenza Orlando, Andrea Giacometti, Paolo Lombardi, Mauro Provinciali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gram-negative sepsis ranks as the leading cause of death in intensive care units. Despite the development of new antibiotics, mortality from gram-negative sepsis remains high. The present study aims to investigate the in vivo effects of berberine (BBR) administration on septic death induced by intraperitoneal Escherichia coli injection. The results showed that (i) single 5 mg/kg dose of BBR increases the survival of septic mice, (ii) BBR administration improves the antimicrobial efficacy of antibiotic drug, (iii) BBR pre-treatment prevents improvements of BBR therapy without affecting the pro-survival effects of antibiotic drug. The effects of BBR administration were associated with immunological alterations represented by changes in CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytes population and IL-6 and TNF-α production. This study highlighted the benefits of berberine administration as antibiotic adjuvant in E. coli sepsis. Furthermore, information about berberine-induced immunological perturbations and their influence on host response to infection and therapy has been shown.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNatural Product Research
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • animal model
  • Berberine
  • CD4
  • CD8
  • Escherichia coli
  • IL-6
  • immunomodulation
  • sepsis
  • TNF-α

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Plant Science
  • Organic Chemistry


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