Research Papers: Immunology:

Effects of baicalein on IL-1β-induced inflammation and apoptosis in rat articular chondrocytes

Yue Li, Jinglu Wang, Xiaopeng Song, Hui Bai, Tianwen Ma, Zhiheng Zhang, Xinran Li, Renli Jiang, Guanying Wang, Xiaojing Fan, Xu Liu and Li Gao _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:90781-90795. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.21796

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Yue Li1, Jinglu Wang1, Xiaopeng Song1, Hui Bai1, Tianwen Ma1, Zhiheng Zhang1, Xinran Li1, Renli Jiang1, Guanying Wang1, Xiaojing Fan1, Xu Liu1 and Li Gao1

1 College of Veterinary Medicine, Northeast Agricultural University, Harbin, Heilongjiang, People’s Republic of China

Correspondence to:

Li Gao, email:

Keywords: baicalein, osteoarthritis, chondrocyte, NF-κB, apoptosis

Received: March 03, 2017 Accepted: September 21, 2017 Published: October 11, 2017


In osteoarthritis (OA), activated synoviocytes and articular chondrocytes produce pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-1β, that promote chondrocyte apoptosis and activate the NF-κB signaling pathway to induce catabolic factors. In this study, we examined the anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic effect of baicalein on IL-1β signaling and NF-κB-regulated gene products in rat chondrocytes. Rat chondrocytes were pretreated with 10 ng/ml IL-1β for 24 h and then co-treated with 10 ng/ml IL-1β and 50 μM baicalein for 0, 12, 24, 36 and 48h. The expression levels of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP), Bcl-2, caspase-3, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9, MMP-3, cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 and SOX-9 were detected by Western blot and quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (qPCR). The effects of baicalein on the translocation and phosphorylation of the NF-κB system were studied by Western blotting and immunofluorescence. Baicalein stimulated the expression of anti-apoptotic genes and reduced the pro-apoptotic and pro-inflammatory gene products in chondrocytes. Baicalein promoted SOX-9 expression in a time-dependent manner in chondrocytes. Baicalein inhibited the NF-κB activation that was induced by IL-1β in a time-dependent manner in chondrocytes. Our results suggest that the anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic effects of baicalein are mediated through the inhibition of the translocation of phosphorylated p65 to the nucleus.

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