Baicalin, a flavonoid, affects the activity of human dermal papilla cells and promotes anagen induction in mice

Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 2015 May;388(5):583-6. doi: 10.1007/s00210-014-1075-0. Epub 2014 Dec 2.


Baicalin, a flavonoid isolated from Scutellaria baicalensis, is known to have multiple biological functions. Recent studies have demonstrated that baicalin treatment increases alkaline phosphatase activity (ALP) and osteoprotegerin secretion by osteoblasts. Furthermore, baicalin induces the differentiation of cultured osteoblasts via the activation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. In this study, we evaluated the hair growth-promoting effects of baicalin in human follicular dermal papilla (DP) cells. A reporter assay and Western blotting were used to assess the effect of baicalin on β-catenin signaling in DP cells. ALP activity and messenger RNA (mRNA) expression were examined by ALP staining and real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), respectively. Growth factor expression levels were also evaluated using real-time PCR. Finally, the effect of baicalin on hair growth in vivo was examined by topical application of baicalin on the shaved dorsal skin of C57BL/6 mice. Our results indicate that baicalin activates Wnt/β-catenin signaling in a dose-dependent manner in human DP cells. ALP mRNA expression and activity were significantly induced in the presence of baicalin. In addition, treatment with baicalin induced the mRNA expression of growth factors, such as insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Moreover, compared to vehicle treatment, baicalin treatment induced an earlier conversion from telogen to anagen. Our results strongly suggest that baicalin promotes hair growth by regulating the activity of DP cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Alkaline Phosphatase / genetics
  • Alkaline Phosphatase / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Flavonoids / isolation & purification
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology*
  • Hair Follicle / drug effects*
  • Hair Follicle / growth & development*
  • Hair Follicle / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Scutellaria / chemistry
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway / drug effects
  • beta Catenin / genetics
  • beta Catenin / metabolism


  • Flavonoids
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • beta Catenin
  • baicalin
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Alkaline Phosphatase