Berberine inhibits human colon cancer cell migration via AMP-activated protein kinase-mediated downregulation of integrin β1 signaling

Jung Jin Park, Seon Mi Seo, Eun Ju Kim, Yoon Jin Lee, Young Gyu Ko, Joohun Ha, Minyoung Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)


Colon cancer is associated with a poor prognosis, motivating strategies to prevent its development. An encouraging preventative strategy is the use of nutraceuticals; however, scientific verification of therapeutic functions and mechanisms of biological activity are necessary for the acceptance of dietary supplements in cancer treatment. Berberine is a benzylisoquinoline alkaloid extracted from many kinds of medicinal plants that has been extensively used as a Chinese traditional medicine. Recently, berberine has been reported to possess antitumoral activities. Among the various cellular targets of berberine is AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which regulates tumor progression and metastasis. However, the specific role of berberine-induced AMPK activation and its effects on the metastatic potential of colon cancer remain largely unknown. The present study investigated berberine-induced activation of AMPK and its effects on colon cancer cell migration. Berberine decreased the migration of SW480 and HCT116 cells. We found that berberine activated AMPK in human colon cancer cell lines. Notably, berberine-induced activation of AMPK reduced the integrin β1 protein levels and decreased the phosphorylation of integrin β1 signaling targets. Knockdown of AMPKα1 subunits using small interfering RNA significantly attenuated berberine-induced downregulation of integrin β1 and inhibition of tumor cell migration. Collectively, our results suggest that berberine-induced AMPK activation inhibits the metastatic potential of colon cancer cells by decreasing integrin β1 protein levels and downstream signaling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-467
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and biophysical research communications
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Oct 5

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Basic Science research Program (Grant No. 2012R1A1A2007317 ) and the Nuclear Research and Development Program through a National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant (Grant No. 2012M2A2A7012483 ) funded by the Korean government (Ministry of Education, Science and Technology).


  • AMP-activated protein kinase
  • Berberine
  • Colon cancer
  • Integrin β1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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