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Purpose: To study the effect of berberine (BBR) on hyperandrogenemia (HA), ovulation dysfunction and inflammation in a mouse model of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Methods: Forty-five female Kunming mice were randomly divided into control group (9 mice), and mice injected with dehydroepiandrosterone (n = 36) for establishment of PCOS model. The PCOS mice were randomly divided into model group, low-dose BBR (0.25 g/kg), medium-dose BBR (0.5 g/kg) and highdose (1.0 g/kg) groups, with 9 mice in each group. Changes in ovarian morphology were monitored, and sex hormone levels i.e. testosterone (T) and luteinizing hormone (LH)), and inflammatory factors were determined.
Results: The model group levels of T and LH were significantly higher than those of the blank control group (p < 0.05), but T and LH levels were significantly lower in middle- and high-dose BBR groups than in the model mice. There were marked increases in IL-6 and TNF-α levels in model mice, when compared to blank control mice, but reduced in the mice treated at the 3 doses of BBR, relative to model mice (p < 0.05). In contrast, the number of follicles was higher at each stage of development in mice for each BBR dose than in the model mice, with increase in corpus luteum.
Conclusion: Berberine lowers the weight of PCOS mice, mitigates hyperandrogenemia and inflammatory state, and enhances recovery of ovulation. However, there is need for further studies on its clinic applicability.
Keywords: Berberine, Polycystic ovary syndrome, Hyperandrogenemia, Ovulation dysfunction, Inflammatory