Background: Two active compounds, baicalein and its glycoside baicalin were found in the dried root of Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi, and reported to be neuroprotective in vitro and in vivo. This study aims to evaluate the protective effects of baicalein on the rotenone-induced apoptosis in dopaminergic SH-SY5Y cells related to parkinsonism.
Methods: Cell viability and cytotoxicity were determined by MTT assay. The degree of nuclear apoptosis was evaluated with a fluorescent DNA-binding probe Hoechst 33258. The production of reactive oxidative species (ROS) and loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) were determined by fluorescent staining with DCFH-DA and Rhodanmine 123, respectively. The expression of Bax, Bcl-2, cleaved caspase-3 and phosphorylated ERK1/2 was determined by the Western blots.
Results: Baicalein significantly increased viability and decreased rotenone-induced death of SH-SY5Y cells in a dose-dependent manner. Pre- and subsequent co-treatment with baicalein preserved the cell morphology and attenuated the nuclear apoptotic characteristics triggered by rotenone. Baicalein antagonized rotenone-induced overproduction of ROS, loss of ΔΨm, the increased expression of Bax, cleaved caspase-3 and phosphorylated ERK1/2 and the decreased expression of Bcl-2.
Conclusion: The antioxidative effect, mitochondrial protection and modulation of anti-and pro-apoptotic proteins are related to the neuroprotective effects of baicalein against rotenone induced cell death in SH-SY5Y cells.