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Front Pharmacol. 2011 Mar 29;2:15. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2011.00015. eCollection 2011.

Baicalin induced dendritic cell apoptosis in vitro.

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School of Pharmacy, Second Military Medical University Shanghai, China.


This study was aimed to investigate the effects of baicalin (BA), a major flavonoid constituent found in the herb Baikal skullcap, on dendritic cells (DCs). DCs were generated by culturing murine bone marrow (BM) cells for 6 days with granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor and interleukin (IL)-4, and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) was added on day 5 to stimulate DCs maturation. The expression levels of DC maturity markers (CD80/CD86) were assessed by flow cytometry using direct immunofluorescence method. IL-12 levels in the culture supernatants were assayed by ELISA. Apoptosis of DCs was analyzed by flow cytometry after annexin V/propidium iodide staining. The mitochondrial membrane potential (Δψ(m)) changes were measured by using the J-aggregate forming lipophilic cation 5,5',6,6'-tetrachloro-1,1',3,3'-tetraethylbenzimidazolcarbocyanine iodide (JC-1). Exposure of DCs to BA (2-50 μM) during BM cell differentiation showed no effects on the up-regulation of CD80/CD86 expression on DCs in response to LPS stimulation, but reduced DCs recovery by inducing apoptosis, and significantly inhibited the release of IL-12 to culture supernatants. BA-induced DC apoptosis in a time- and dose-dependent way, and immature DCs were more sensitive for BA-induced apoptosis than mature DC. BA also induced Δψ(m) changes in DCs. These results demonstrate that BA induces selective apoptosis in immature DCs possibly through mitochondria-mediated pathway.


apoptosis; baicalin; dendritic cell; immunosuppressive activity; mitochondrial membrane potential

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