Effects of black Berberis vulgaris L combined with aerobic and resistance exercise on blood metabolic parameters and liver enzymes in obese rats



Aerobic, Resistance training, Physical activity, Fatty liver, Cardiovascular disease, Wistar rats


Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a six-week intake of Berberis vulgaris L in combination with resistance and aerobic exercise on the lipid profile, metabolic parameters, and liver enzymes of obese male rats. Methods: 56 male Wistar rats were divided into seven groups: 1) healthy control (n = 8); 2) hypercaloric fatty-food-based diet (n = 8); 3) aerobic exercise (AE, n = 8); 4) resistance exercise (RE, n = 8); 5) black Berberis vulgaris L extract intake (n = 8); 6) Berberis intake combined with aerobic exercise (BAE, n = 8); and 7) Berberis intake combined with resistance exercise (BRE, n = 8). All the rats (except the controls) were induced fatty liver by six weeks of a hypercaloric diet before the intervention. After six weeks of intervention, blood samples were taken to obtain cholesterol, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), glucose of c-reactive protein (CRP), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and urea. Differences between groups were evaluated using the Kruskal Wallis test with post-hoc pairwise comparisons. Results: All the intervention groups significantly (p < .05) improved the parameters compared to the hypercaloric group in almost all the assessed parameters, reaching in many cases significantly better values than the healthy group (control). Similar results were obtained between the experimental groups; however, the outcomes were slightly better (non-significant differences) for the combination of the Berberis extract and both exercise methodologies. Conclusion: The use of herbal medicines such as Berberis vulgaris L in combination with aerobic or resistance exercises may be useful in the prevention of cardiovascular disease by improving risk factors such as blood lipid levels.


The authors gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of the Shahrekord Medicinal Plants Research Center, which supported and funded this project.


Download data is not yet available.


Aslani, N., Entezari, M. H., Askari, G., Maghsoudi, Z., & Maracy, M. R. (2016). Effect of garlic and lemon juice mixture on lipid profile and some cardiovascular risk factors in people 30-60 years old with moderate hyperlipidaemia: a randomized clinical trial. International Journal of Preventive Medicine, 7(1), 95. https://doi.org/10.4103/2008-7802.187248

Atkins, J. L., Whincup, P. H., Morris, R. W., Lennon, L. T., Papacosta, O., & Wannamethee, S. G. (2014). Sarcopenic obesity and risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality: a population-based cohort study of older men. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 62(2), 253-260. https://doi.org/10.1111/jgs.12652

Bernhardt, V., Stickford, J. L., Bhammar, D. M., & Babb, T. G. (2016). Aerobic exercise training without weight loss reduces dyspnea on exertion in obese women. Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology, 221, 64-70. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resp.2015.11.004

Calabresi, L., & Franceschini, G. (2010). Lecithin: cholesterol acyltransferase, high-density lipoproteins, and atheroprotection in humans. Trends in Cardiovascular Medicine, 20(2), 50-53. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tcm.2010.03.007

Cao, H., Li, C., Lei, L., Wang, X., Liu, S., Liu, Q., Huan, Y., Sun, S., & Shen, Z. (2020). Stachyose improves the effects of berberine on glucose metabolism by regulating intestinal microbiota and short-chain fatty acids in spontaneous type 2 diabetic KKAy Mice. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 11, 1641. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2020.578943

Changizi Ashtiyani, S., Zarei, A., Taheri, S., Rezaei, A., Golshan, M., & Ghafarzadegan, R. (2013). A comparative study of hypolipidemic activities of the extracts of Melissa officinalis and Berberis vulgaris in rats. Journal of Medicinal Plants, 12(47), 38-47.

Dulić, M., Ciganović, P., Vujić, L., & Zovko Končić, M. (2019). Antidiabetic and cosmeceutical potential of common barbery (Berberis vulgaris L) root bark extracts obtained by optimization of 'Green' ultrasound-assisted extraction. Molecules, 24(19), 3613. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24193613

Earnest, C. P., Artero, E. G., Sui, X., et al. (2013). Maximal estimated cardiorespiratory fitness, cardiometabolic risk factors, and metabolic syndrome in the aerobics center longitudinal study. In Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 88(3), 259-270). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2012.11.006

Emamat, H., Zahedmehr, A., Asadian, S., Tangestani, H., & Nasrollahzadeh, J. (2020). Effect of barberry (Berberis vulgaris) consumption on blood pressure, plasma lipids, and inflammation in patients with hypertension and other cardiovascular risk factors: study protocol for a randomized clinical trial. Trials, 21(1), 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13063-020-04918-7

Fatehi-Hassanabad, Z., Jafarzadeh, M., Tarhini, A., & Fatehi, M. (2005). The antihypertensive and vasodilator effects of aqueous extract from Berberis vulgaris fruit on hypertensive rats. Phytother Research: An International Journal Devoted to Pharmacological and Toxicological Evaluation of Natural Product Derivatives, 19(3), 222-225. https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.1661

Firouzi, S., Malekahmadi, M., Ghayour-Mobarhan, M., Ferns, G., & Rahimi, H. R. (2018). Barberry in the treatment of obesity and metabolic syndrome: possible mechanisms of action. Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy, 11, 699-705. https://doi.org/10.2147/DMSO.S181572

Ghanbari-Niaki, A., Khabazian, B. M., Hossaini-Kakhak, S. A., et al. (2007). Treadmill exercise enhances ABCA1 expression in rat liver. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 361(4), 841-846. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2007.07.100

Haselgrübler, R., Lanzerstorfer, P., Röhrl, C., et al. (2019). Hypolipidemic effects of herbal extracts by reduction of adipocyte differentiation, intracellular neutral lipid content, lipolysis, fatty acid exchange and lipid droplet motility. Scientific Reports, 9(1), 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-47060-4

Iloon Kashkooli, R., Najafi, S. S., Sharif, F., Hamedi, A., Hoseini Asl, M. K., Najafi Kalyani, M., & Birjandi M. (2015). The effect of Berberis vulgaris extract on transaminase activities in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Hepatitis Monthly, 15(2), https://doi.org/10.5812/hepatmon.25067

Imenshahidi, M. & Hosseinzadeh, H. (2019). Berberine and barberry (Berberis vulgaris): a clinical review. Phytotherapy Research, 33(3), 504-523. https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.6252

Kamada, M., Shiroma, E. J., Buring, J. E., Miyachi, M., & Lee, I. M. (2017). Strength training and all-cause, cardiovascular disease, and cancer mortality in older women: a cohort study. Journal of the American Heart Association, 6(11), e007677. https://doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.117.007677

Kang, J. G. & Park., C.-Y. (2012). Anti-obesity drugs: a review about their effects and safety. Diabetes & Metabolism Journal, 36(1), 13-25. https://doi.org/10.4093/dmj.2012.36.1.13

Kazeminasab, F., Marandi, M., Ghaedi K., Esfarjani, F., & Moshtaghian, J. (2013). Endurance training enhances LXRα gene expression in Wistar male rats. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 113(9), 2285-2290. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-013-2658-z

Kobayashi, J., Nohara, A., Kawashiri, M., Inazuc, A., Koizumid, J., Nakajimae, K., & Mabuchia, H. (2007). Serum lipoprotein lipase mass: clinical significance of its measurement. Clinica Chimica Acta, 378(1-2), 7-12. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cca.2006.12.003

Kraus, W., Houmard, J., Duscha B., et al. (2002). Effects of the amount and intensity of exercise on plasma lipoproteins. New England Journal of Medicine, 347(19), 1483-1492. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa020194

Lazavi, F., Mirmiran, P., Sohrab, G., Nikpayam, O., Angoorani, P., & Hedayati, M. (2018). The barberry juice effects on metabolic factors and oxidative stress in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized clinical trial. Complementary Therapies in Clinal Practice, 31, 170-174. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctcp.2018.01.009

LeMura, L., von Duvillard, S., Andreacci, J., Klebez, J. M., Chelland. S. A., & Russo J. (2000). Lipid and lipoprotein profiles, cadiovascular fitness, body composition, and diet during and after resistance, aerobic and combination training in young women. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 82(5-6), 451-458. https://doi.org/10.1007/s004210000234

Liu, Y., Lee, D. C., Li, Y., et al. (2019). Associations of resistance exercise with cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 51(3), 499. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0000000000001822

MacDonald, H. V., Johnson, B. T., Huedo‐Medina, T. B., et al. (2016). Dynamic resistance training as stand‐alone antihypertensive lifestyle therapy: a meta‐analysis. Journal of the American Heart Association, 5(10), e003231. https://doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.116.003231

Maliakkal, B. J. (2020). Pathogenesis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and implications on cardiovascular outcomes in liver transplantation. Translational Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 5, 36. https://doi.org/10.21037/tgh.2019.12.02

Matsuura, H. (2001). Saponins in garlic as modifiers of the risk of cardiovascular disease. The Journal of Nutrition, 131(3), 1000S-1005S. https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/131.3.1000S

Mazidi, M. & Speakman, J. R. (2018). Impact of obesity and ozone on the association between particulate air pollution and cardiovascular disease and stroke mortality among US adults. Journal of the American Heart Association, 7(11), e008006. https://doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.117.008006

Miyachi, M. (2013). Effects of resistance training on arterial stiffness: a meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 47(6), 393-396. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2012-090488

Miyashita, M., Eto, M., Sasai, H., Tsujimoto, T., Nomata, Y., & Tanaka, K. (2010). Twelve-week jogging training increases pre-heparin serum lipoprotein lipase concentrations in overweight/obese middle-aged men. Journal of Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis, 17(1), 21-29. https://doi.org/10.5551/jat.2337

Mohammadi, A., Sahebkar, A., Kermani, T., Zhilaee, M., Tavallaie, S., & Ghayour Mobarhan, M. (2014). Barberry administration and pro-oxidant-antioxidant balance in patients with metabolic syndrome. Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal, 16(12), e16786. https://doi.org/10.5812/ircmj.16786

Mohammadi, M., Bagheri, A., Marashi, H., Moshtaghi, N., & Balandari, A. (2011). Investigation into seasonal effect and browning inhibitor on callus regeneration of seedless barberry (Berberis vulgaris var. asperma). Plant Tissue Culture and Biotechnology, 21(2), 161‐168. https://doi.org/10.3329/ptcb.v21i2.10239

Schroeder, E. C., Franke, W. D., Sharp, R. L., & Lee, D. (2019). Comparative effectiveness of aerobic, resistance, and combined training on cardiovascular disease risk factors: a randomized controlled trial. PloS One, 14(1), e0210292. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0210292

Shamsoddini, A., Sobhani, V., Ghamar Chehreh, M. E., Alavian, S. M., & Zaree, A. (2015). Effect of aerobic and resistance exercise training on liver enzymes and hepatic fat in Iranian men with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Hepatitis Monthly, 15(10), e31434. https://doi.org/10.5812/hepatmon.31434

Shidfar, F., Ebrahimi, SS., Hosseini, S., Heydari, I., Shidfar, S., & Hajhassani, G. (2012). The effects of Berberis vulgaris fruit extract on serum lipoproteins, apoB, apoA-I, homocysteine, glycemic control and total antioxidant capacity in type 2 diabetic patients. Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, 11(2), 643-652.

Tabeshpour, J., Imenshahidi, M., & Hosseinzadeh, H. (2017). A review of the effects of Berberis vulgaris and its major component, berberine, in metabolic syndrome. Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences, 20(5), 557-568.

Taheri, S., Zarei, A., Ashtiyani, S. C., Rezaei, A., & Zaheiri, S. (2012). Evaluation of the effects of hydroalcoholic extract of berberis vulgaris root on the activity of liver enzymes in male hypercholesterolemic rats. Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine, 2(3), 153.

Torkamaneh, S., Sharifi, GH., & Rafieian, M. (2016). The comparison between the effects of Berberis vulgaris Extract and aerobic exercise on none-alcoholic fatty liver in male rats. Der Pharma Chemica, 8(1), 244-247.

Vrzal, R., Zdařilová, A., Ulrichová, J., Bláha, L., Giesy, J. P., & Dvořák, Z. (2005). Activation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor by berberine in HepG2 and H4IIE cells: biphasic effect on CYP1A1. Biochemical Pharmacology, 70(6), 925-936. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bcp.2005.06.016

Wang, Y., & Xu, D. (2017). Effects of aerobic exercise on lipids and lipoproteins. Lipids in Health and Disease, 16(1), 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12944-017-0515-5

Wood, P. D., Stefanick, M. L., Williams, P. T., & Haskell, W. L. (1991). The effects on plasma lipoproteins of a prudent weight-reducing diet, with or without exercise, in overweight men and women. New England Journal of Medicine, 325(7), 461-466. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJM199108153250703

World Health Organization (2017). Global recommendations on physical activity for health. ISBN: 9789241599979. Retrieved from: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789241599979

Yang, Y., Chan, S. W., Hu, M., Walden, R., & Tomlinson, B. (2011). Effects of some common food constituents on cardiovascular disease. ISRN Cardiology, 2011, 397136. https://doi.org/10.5402/2011/397136

Yang, Z., Scott, C. A., Mao, C., Tang, J., & Farmer, A. J. (2014). Resistance exercise versus aerobic exercise for type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Medicine, 44(4), 487-499. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-013-0128-8

Zarei, A., Changizi-Ashtiyani, S., Taheri, S., & Ramezani, M. (2015). A quick overview on some aspects of endocrinological and therapeutic effects of Berberis vulgaris L. Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine, 5 (6), 485-497.

Zhan, J., Liu, Y. J., Cai, L. B., Xu, F. R., Xie, T., & He, Q. Q. (2017). Fruit and vegetable consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 57(8), 1650-1663. https://doi.org/10.1080/10408398.2015.1008980


Statistics RUA



How to Cite

Torkamaneh, S., Gene-Morales, J., Juesas, A., Flández, J., Hammami, R., Rafieian-Kopaei, M., & Colado, J. C. (2021). Effects of black Berberis vulgaris L combined with aerobic and resistance exercise on blood metabolic parameters and liver enzymes in obese rats. Journal of Human Sport and Exercise, 16(2proc), S619-S629. Retrieved from https://www.jhse.ua.es/article/view/2021-v16-n2-proc-effects-black-berberis-vulgaris-l-combined-aero