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Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2013;14(12):7179-86.

Scutellaria extract decreases the proportion of side population cells in a myeloma cell line by down-regulating the expression of ABCG2 protein.

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The First Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China E-mail :,



Scutellaria is one of the most popular traditional Chinese herbal remedies against various human diseases, including cancer. In this study, we examined the active effects of Scutellaria extract and its main flavonoid constituents on the proportion of side population cells within human multiple myeloma cell line RPMI8226 in vitro and explored the potential molecular mechanisms involved.


The contents of flavonoids in ethanolic extract of Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi were determined using high performance liquid chromatography. The antiproliferative effect of the ethanolic extract on RPMI-8226 was determined by CCK assay. Apoptosis was measured by annexin combining with propidium iodide in a flow cytometer. Cell cycle analysis was performed by propidium iodide staining in combination with flow cytometry analysis. Hoechst 33342 exclusion assay was used for the identification of side population within RPMI8226 cells. The expression of ABCG2 protein was assessed by Western blotting assay.


The content of major flavonoids constitutents of Scutellaria extract was baicalin (10.2%), wogonoside (2.50%), baicalein (2.29%), and wogonin (0.99%), respectively. The crude Scutellaria extract did not show significant anti-proliferative effect, apoptosis induction and cell cycle arrest in RPMI-8226 within the concentrations of 1-75μg/mL. However, the ethanolic extract, baicalein, wogonin and baicalin reduced the side population cells in RPMI-8226, and data showed that baicalein and wogonin had stronger inhibitory effects. Correspondingly, they also exhibited significant effects on decreasing the expression level of ABCG2 protein in RPMI-8226 in vitro.


Our results for the first time demonstrated a novel mechanism of action for Scutellaria extract and its main active flavonoids, namely targeting SP cells by modulating the expression of ABCG2 protein. This study provides an insight for new therapeutic strategies targeting cancer stem cells of multiple myeloma.

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