Berberine is generally extracted from Rhizoma Coptidis (Coptis chinensis Franch), a traditional Chinese medicine, which can be used in the treatment of intestinal diseases, respiratory infections and cardiovascular diseases. Berberine is especially effective for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea because of the effect of heat-clearing and detoxifying in traditional Chinese medicine theory.
This study aimed to examine the protective effect of berberine (BBR) on the damaged colonic epithelial barrier caused by peritoneal dialysis fluid (PDF).
The damage to intestinal epithelial barrier was examined by intraperitoneally injecting 4.25% dextrose-containing PDF in mice and establishing a long-term PD model in rats with renal failure. Then, the therapeutic potential of berberine on PD-related colonic injuries was examined. T84 colonic epithelial cells were used to test the effect of PDF and berberine in vitro. The damaging effect of PDF and the protective effect of berberine were evaluated by histology staining, histofluorescence and transmission electron microscopy. The migration of colonic epithelial cell and actin-related protein 2 (Arp2) were tested by wound healing assay and western blot to determine the possible mechanism in vitro.
PD administration induced intestinal epithelial barrier dysfunction in the colon, and berberine alleviated the injury by increasing the tight junction and adhesion junction protein, both in vivo and in vitro. Berberine could also improve the morphology of microvillus. In the wound healing assay, berberine exhibited the ability to promote cell migration, indicating that berberine could probably recover the function of intestinal epithelial cells when the intestinal epithelial barrier was damaged by the PDF.
The present study demonstrates that berberine can ameliorate intestinal epithelial barrier dysfunction in the colon caused by long-term PDF through improving cell migration.

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