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Immunobiology. 2006;211(5):359-68. Epub 2006 Mar 29.

Differential inhibitory effects of baicalein and baicalin on LPS-induced cyclooxygenase-2 expression through inhibition of C/EBPbeta DNA-binding activity.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, School of Medicine, Keimyung University, 194 DongSan-Dong Jung-Gu, Daegu 700-712, Republic of Korea.


To evaluate the possible mechanisms responsible for the anti-inflammatory effects of baicalein or baicalin, lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammatory responses in cultured Raw 264.7 cells were studied. In the present study, baicalein and baicalin, a flavonoid present in the root of Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi, were examined for their effects on LPS-induced cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) gene expression in Raw 264.7 macrophages. Baicalein, but not baicalin, inhibited COX-2 gene expression in LPS-induced Raw 264.7 cells. However, both polyphenolic compounds inhibited LPS-induced inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) protein expression, iNOS mRNA expression, and NO production in a dose-dependent manner. To investigate the mechanism by which baicalein inhibits COX-2 gene expression, we examined activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) in Raw 264.7 cells. We did not observe any significant change in the phosphorylation of MAPKs between baicalein- and baicalin-treated cells. Baicalein and baicalin had no effect on LPS-induced nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) and cAMP response element binding protein (CREB) DNA binding activity. Baicalein, but not baicalin, significantly inhibited the DNA binding activity of CCAAT/enhancer binding protein beta (C/EBPbeta) These results indicated that differential effects of baicalein and baicalin on COX-2 gene expression in LPS-induced Raw 264.7 cells were mediated through inhibition of C/EBPbeta DNA binding activity. Taken together, these results suggest that baicalein acts to inhibit inflammation through inhibition of COX-2 gene expression through blockade of C/EBPbeta DNA binding activity.

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