Induction of Apoptosis by Baicalein in Human Leukemia HL-60 Cells

  • Published : 2001.06.01


Baicalein, a major flavonoid of extract from Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi, has been shown to exhibit antioxidant and anti proliferative effects. In the present study, we investigate the effects of baicalein on viability and induction of apoptosis in human promyelocytic leukemia HL-60 cells. Baicalein was found to induce apoptosis of HL-60 cells in a concentration-dependent and time-dependent manner. When HL-60 cells were exposed to 100 $\mu\textrm{M}$ baicalein for 6h, the viability was decreased remarkably to 27% of control, whereas DNA fragmentation was significantly increased to 64%. Nucleosomal fragmentation of baicalein treated HL-60 cells, a hallmark of apoptosis, was further identified by agarose gel electrophoresis (DNA ladder). Flow cytometric analysis showed that apoptotic cells were increased to 66.6% after treatment with 100 $\mu\textrm{M}$ baicalein for 6 h. Baicalein-induced apoptosis of HL-60 cells was reduced by 1h pretreatment with inhibitor of caspases, z-Asp-$CH_2$-DCB. At 3 and 10 $\mu\textrm{M}$ of z-Asp-$CH_2$-DCB, DNA fragmentation of HL-60 cells induced by baicalein (50 $\mu\textrm{M}$) was 36.8 and 17.1 %, respectively, whereas, that of HL-60 cells treated by baicalein (50 $\mu\textrm{M}$) without pretreatment with inhibitor of caspases was 62.7%. These data suggest that baicalein induces apoptosis in human leukemia HL-60 cells, and that caspase enzymes might be involved in baicalein-induced apoptosis.