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Chemoprevention is a novel approach to study the anti-initiating and anti-tumor promoting efficacy of medicinal plants and its active principles. Chemopreventive agents exert their anticancer potential through their anti-lipid peroxidative and antioxidant function. The present study investigated the chemopreventive potential of berberine, an isoquinoline alkaloid, in 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene induced skin carcinogenesis. The chemopreventive potential of berberine was assessed by measuring the tumor incidence and by analyzing the status of lipid peroxidation by products, antioxidants and phase II detoxification enzymes during DMBA-induced skin carcinogenesis. Repeated topical applications of DMBA (2 times per week for 8 weeks) induced skin carcinogenesis in Swiss albino mice. DMBA alone treated animals showed 100% tumor incidence and the tumor was histopathologically confirmed as well differentiated squamous cell carcinoma. The status of lipid peroxidation by products, antioxidants and detoxification enzymes activities were marked by altered in mice treated with DMBA alone. Oral administration of berberine completely prevented the formation of well differentiated squamous cell carcinoma as well as restored the status of biochemical parameters in DMBA treated animals. The present study thus demonstrated the chemopreventive potential of berberine in DMBA-induced skin carcinogenesis. Although the exact mechanism of action of chemopreventive potential of berberine is unclear, its anti-lipid peroxidative, antioxidant and modulating effect on detoxification cascade could play a possible role.


Berberine Skin Cancer Antioxidant Lipid peroxidation

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Shanmugam Manoharan, Mookkan Muneeswaran, & Nagarethinam Baskaran. (2010). Chemopreventive efficacy of berberine in 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA) induced skin carcinogenesis in Swiss albino mice. International Journal of Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences, 1(4), 521-529. Retrieved from

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