Antioxidant and free radical scavenging effects of baicalein, baicalin and wogonin

Anticancer Res. 2000 Sep-Oct;20(5A):2861-5.


Xanthine oxidase inhibitors are known to be therapeutically useful for the treatment of hepatitis and brain tumor. Baicalein, baicalin and wogonin, isolated from Scutellaria rivularis, have been reported to exhibit a strong activity on xanthine oxidase inhibition. In this study, their antioxidant activity was evaluated by modified xanthine oxidase inhibition and cytochrome c reduced methods. The results showed that the order of activity on xanthine oxidase inhibition was baicalein > wogonin > baicalin, IC50 = 3.12, 157.38 and 215.19 microM, respectively, whereas the activity on cytochrome c reduction was baicalin > wogonin > baicalein (IC50 = 224.12, 300.10 and 370.33 microM, respectively). In another study, an electron spin resonance (ESR) technique was used to further confirm the direct free radical scavenging activity. Both baicalein and baicalin demonstrated a strong activity on eliminating the superoxide radical (.O2-) (baicalein: 7.31 x 10(4) u/g; baicalin: 1.19 x 10(5) u/g). The IC50 of baicalein was 2.8 fold higher than that of baicalin. However they had no significant effect on scavenging hydroxyl radical (.OH). The present results demonstrated that baicalein and baicalin posed a different pathological pathway. The antioxidant function of baicalin was mainly based on scavenging superoxide radical whilst baicalein was a good xanthine oxidase inhibitor.

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Cyclic N-Oxides
  • Cytochrome c Group / metabolism
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / metabolism*
  • Flavanones*
  • Flavonoids / metabolism*
  • Free Radical Scavengers / metabolism*
  • Spin Labels
  • Superoxides
  • Xanthine Oxidase / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • Antioxidants
  • Cyclic N-Oxides
  • Cytochrome c Group
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Flavanones
  • Flavonoids
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Spin Labels
  • Superoxides
  • baicalin
  • baicalein
  • 5,5-dimethyl-1-pyrroline-1-oxide
  • Xanthine Oxidase
  • wogonin