Berberine (BBR) is a novel natural hypolipidemic agent. This study investigates whether BBR, similar to statins, exerts pleiotropic effects on endothelial tissue factor (TF) expression. BBR enhanced tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and thrombin induced TF expression in human endothelial cells by 3.5-fold. These effects were paralleled by an enhanced TF surface activity. In contrast, expression of TF pathway inhibitor was impaired. BBR enhanced TNF-alpha induced TF mRNA expression; however, TF promoter activity was inhibited. Activation of ERK and p38 remained unaffected, while c-Jun terminal NH(2) kinase was inhibited. BBR reduced TF mRNA degradation rates, prolonging its half-life from 1.1 to 4.3 h. The HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor simvastatin impaired thrombin induced TF expression, and BBR blunted this inhibition. Simvastatin did not affect TNF-alpha induced TF expression, and BBR enhanced TF under these conditions. Administration of BBR (100 mg/kg/d) increased TF activity and impaired TFPI expression in carotid artery of ApoE(-/-) mice. BBR enhances TF via mRNA stabilization at clinically relevant concentrations. Clinical application of BBR, either as an alternative to or in combination with statins, should be considered with caution.