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Journal of Toxicological Sciences
Vol. 37 ,No: 2, 2012, Pages: 363-71

Protective role of intestinal bacterial metabolism against baicalin-induced toxicity in HepG2 cell cultures

Khanal T, Kim HG, Choi JH, Park BH, Do MT, Kang MJ, Yeo HK, Kim DH, Kang W, Jeong TC, Jeong HG

Department of Toxicology, College of Pharmacy, Chungnam National University, Daejeon, South Korea.


Baicalin, a glycoside present in Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi, is metabolized to its aglycone, baicalein, in intestine. In the present study, possible role of metabolism of baicalin by intestinal bacteria to baicalein in baicalin-induced toxicity was investigated in HepG2 cell cultures. As an intestinal bacterial metabolic system for baicalin, human fecal preparation containing intestinal microflora (fecalase) was employed. Initially, when cytotoxic effects of baicalin and baicalein were compared, baicalin was more cytotoxic than baicalein in HepG2 cells. When baicalin was incubated with fecalase, it was metabolized to baicalein. In addition, baicalin-incubated with fecalase reduced cytotoxicity of HepG2 cells in a concentration-dependent manner. Moreover, baicalin-incubated with fecalase significantly caused an increase in Bcl-2 expression together with a decrease in Bax expression and cleaved Caspase-3. Furthermore, anti-apoptotic effect by the incubation of baicalin with fecalase was also confirmed by the terminal deoxynucleotidyltransferase-mediated dUTP-biotin nick-end labeling assay. Taken all together, the findings suggested that metabolism of baicalin by human fecalase to baicalein might have protective effects against baicalin-induced toxicity in HepG2 cells.

Keywords:aglycone;baicalein;baicalin-induced toxicity;intestinal bacterial metabolism;terminal deoxynucleotidyltransferase.


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