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Open Access Research

Baicalein inhibits IL-1β- and TNF-α-induced inflammatory cytokine production from human mast cells via regulation of the NF-κB pathway

Chia-Jung Hsieh1, Kenton Hall1, Tuanzhu Ha2, Chuanfu Li2, Guha Krishnaswamy1 and David S Chi1*

Author Affiliations

1 Departments of Internal Medicine, James H. Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee 37614, USA

2 Departmen of Surgery, James H. Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee 37614, USA

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Clinical and Molecular Allergy 2007, 5:5  doi:10.1186/1476-7961-5-5

Published: 26 November 2007

Abstract

Background

Human mast cells are multifunctional cells capable of a wide variety of inflammatory responses. Baicalein (BAI), isolated from the traditional Chinese herbal medicine Huangqin (Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi), has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. We examined its effects and mechanisms on the expression of inflammatory cytokines in an IL-1β- and TNF-α-activated human mast cell line, HMC-1.

Methods

HMC-1 cells were stimulated either with IL-1β (10 ng/ml) or TNF-α (100 U/ml) in the presence or absence of BAI. We assessed the expression of IL-6, IL-8, and MCP-1 by ELISA and RT-PCR, NF-κB activation by electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA), and IκBα activation by Western blot.

Results

BAI (1.8 to 30 μM) significantly inhibited production of IL-6, IL-8, and MCP-1 in a dose-dependent manner in IL-1β-activated HMC-1. BAI (30 μM) also significantly inhibited production of IL-6, IL-8, and MCP-1 in TNF-α-activated HMC-1. Inhibitory effects appear to involve the NF-κB pathway. BAI inhibited NF-κB activation in IL-1β- and TNF-α-activated HMC-1. Furthermore, BAI increased cytoplasmic IκBα proteins in IL-1β- and TNF-α-activated HMC-1.

Conclusion

Our results showed that BAI inhibited the production of inflammatory cytokines through inhibition of NF-κB activation and IκBα phosphorylation and degradation in human mast cells. This inhibitory effect of BAI on the expression of inflammatory cytokines suggests its usefulness in the development of novel anti-inflammatory therapies.