Berberine Prolongs Life Span and Stimulates Locomotor Activity of Drosophila melanogaster


Drosophila melanogaster mutants with deficient kynurenine (KYN) formation from tryptophan (TRP) have longer life span than wild type flies. Administration of alpha-methyl-TRP and 5-methyl-TRY, the inhibitors of TRP-KYN metabolism, prolonged life span in wild-type flies. Both inhibitors are not available for human use. Berberine, an isoquinoline alkaloid isolated from berberis aristata is known as the herb widely used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine. Berberin is a strong inhibitor of the enzyme catalyzing TRP conversion into KYN. Considering this particular feature we investigated the effect of berberine on life-and health-span in wild-type Drosophila melanogaster. The results of our study showed that Berberine extended mean, median and maximum life span of female flies. Berberine did not affect the number of pupae of filial generation and decreased their lethality. Berberine increased locomotor activity (vertical climbing). The results of the study suggest that berberine prolongs life- and improves health-span of Drosophila melanogaster. Berberine might be a candidate drug for prevention and treatment of aging and aging-associated medical and psychiatric disorders.

Share and Cite:

V. Navrotskaya, G. Oxenkrug, L. Vorobyova and P. Summergrad, "Berberine Prolongs Life Span and Stimulates Locomotor Activity of Drosophila melanogaster," American Journal of Plant Sciences, Vol. 3 No. 7A, 2012, pp. 1037-1040. doi: 10.4236/ajps.2012.327123.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] G.Oxenkrug, ”Interferon-gamma-inducible kynurenines/ pteridines inflammation cascade: implications for aging and aging-associated medical and psychiatric disorders”, J Neural Transm, Vol.118, No. 1, 2011, pp. 75 – 85 PMid:20811799 PMCid:
[2] G. Oxenkrug, “Interferon-gamma–Inducible Inflammation: Contribution to Aging and Aging-Associated Psychiatric Disorders”. Aging and Disease. Vol. 2, No.6, 2011, pp. 474-486. PMid:22396896 PMCid:3295064
[3] KG. Iliadi, GL. Boulianne, “Age-related behavioral changes in Drosophila”, Ann N Y Acad Sci, Vol. 1197, June, 2010, pp. 9-18. PM-id:20536827
[4] MG. Kamyshev, “Longevity and its relation to the locomotor activity in tryptophan-xanthommatin metabolic pathway mutant of Drosophila]”. Dokl. Acad. Nauk. USSR. Vol. 253, No. 5, 1980; pp. 1476 – 1480.
[5] G. Oxenkrug, “The extended life span of Drosophila melanogaster eye-color (white and vermilion) mutants with impaired formation of kynurenine”, J Neural Transm, Vol. 117, No.1, 2010, pp. 23 – 26. PMid:19941150 PMCid:3013506
[6] G. Oxenkrug, V. Navrotskaya, L. Vorobyova, P. Summergrad, “Extension of life span of Drosophila melanogaster by the inhibitors of tryptophan – kynurenine metabolism,” Fly (Austin). Vol. 5, No.4, 2011, pp.307 – 309. PMCid:3266072
[7] CJ. Yu, MF. Zheng, CX. Kuang, WD. Huang, Q. Yang, ” Orengedokuto and its constituents with therapeutic potential in Alzheimer's disease inhibit indoleamine 2, 3-dioxygenase activity in vitro”, J Alzheimers Dis, Vol.22, No.1, 2010, pp. 257-266.PMid:20847417
[8] A. Avanesian, B. Khodayari, JS. Felgner, M. Jafari, “Lamotrigine extends lifespan but compromises health span in Drosophila melanogaster”, Biogerontology. Vol. 11, No. 1, 2010, pp. 45-52. PMid:19430925 PMCid:2797622
[9] MA. Jones, M. Grote-wiel, “Drosophila as a model for age-related impairment in locomotor and other behaviors”. Exp Gerontol, Vol. 46, 2011, pp. 320-325. PMid:20800672 PMCid:3021004
[10] DC. Crowther, KJ. Kinghorn, E. Miranda E, et al,” Intraneuronal Aβ, non-amyloid aggregates and neurodegeneration in a Drosophila model of Alzheimer's disease,” Neuroscience, Vol. 132, 2005, pp.123-135. PM-id:15780472
[11] P. Masek, K. Scott, “Limited taste discrimination in Drosophila,” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, Vol. 107, No.33, 2010, pp.14833-8. PMid:20679196 PMCid:2930483
[12] 12. SK. Kulkarni, A. Dhir, “On the mechanism of antidepressant-like action of berberine chloride,” Eur J Pharmacol, Vol. 589, No. 1-3, 2008, pp.163-72. PMid:18585703
[13] P. Bhutada, Y. Mundhada, K. Bansod,”Protection of cholinergic and antioxidant system contributes to the effect of berberine ameliorating memory dysfunction in rat model of streptozotocin-induced diabetes”, Behav Brain Res, Vol.220, No.1, 2011, pp. 30-41. PMid:21262264
[14] GS. Li, XH. Liu, H. Zhu, et al, “ Berberine-improved visceral white adipose tissue insulin resistance associated with altered sterol regulatory element-binding proteins, liver x receptors, and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors transcriptional programs in diabetic hamsters”, Biol Pharm Bull. Vol. 34, No.5, 2011, pp. 644-654.
[15] TP. Pham, J. Kwon, J. Shin, “Berberine exerts anti-adipogenic activity through up-regulation of C/EBP inhibitors, CHOP and DEC2”, Biochem Biophys Res Commun,Vol.413, No.2, 2011, pp.376-382. PMid:21893041
[16] KV. Anis, NY. Rajeshkumar, R. Kuttan, “ Inhibition of chemical carcinogenesis by berberine in rats and mice”, J Pharm Pharmacol, Vol.53, No.5, 2001, pp.763-768. PMid:11370717
[17] Harikumar, G. Kuttan, R. Kuttan, ”Inhibition of progression of erythroleukemia induced by Friend virus in BALB/c mice by natural products-berberine, curcumin and picroliv”, J Exp Ther Oncol, Vol. 7, No.4, 2008, pp.275-84. PMid:19227007
[18] S. Campesan, EW Green, C. Breda C, KV Sathyasaikumar, PJ Muchowski, R. Schwarcz, CP Kyriacou, “The Kynurenine Pathway Modulates Neurodegeneration in a Drosophila Model of Huntington's Disease”, Curr Biol, Vol.21, No. 11, pp. 961-966. PMid:21636279
[19] GF. Oxenkrug, “Genetic and hormonal regulation of the kynurenine pathway of tryptophan metabolism: new target for clinical intervention in vascular dementia, depression and aging”, Ann. N Y Acad. Sci, Vol. 1122, December, 2007, pp. 35-49. PM-id:18077563
[20] EW. Green, S. Campesan, C. Breda, KV. Sathyasaikumar, PJ. Muchowski, R. Schwarcz, CP. Kyriacou, F. Giorgini,” Drosophila eye color mutants as therapeutic tools for Huntington disease,” Fly (Austin). Vol. 6, No.2, 2012, [Epub ahead of print] PMid:22634544
[21] K. Groebe, F. Krause, B. Kunstmann, et al. “Differential proteomic profiling of mitochondria from Podospora anserina, rat and human reveals distinct patterns of age-related oxidative changes”. Experimental Gerontology. Vol. 42, No.9, 2007, pp. 887-898, 2007.07.001
[22] JT. Hwang, DY. Kwon, SH. Yoon “AMP-activated protein kinase: a poten-tial target for the diseases prevention by natural occurring polyphenols”. Biotechnol, Vol. 26, No. 1-2, 2009, pp.17-22.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.