Abstract Title:

Baicalin and the liver-gut system: Pharmacological bases explaining its therapeutic effects.

Abstract Source:

Pharmacol Res. 2021 03 ;165:105444. Epub 2021 Jan 22. PMID: 33493657

Abstract Author(s):

Qichao Hu, Wenwen Zhang, Zhao Wu, Xin Tian, Junbao Xiang, Longxuan Li, Zhihao Li, Xi Peng, Shizhang Wei, Xiao Ma, Yanling Zhao

Article Affiliation:

Qichao Hu


With the development of high-throughput screening and bioinformatics technology, natural products with a range of pharmacological targets in multiple diseases have become important sources of new drug discovery. These compounds are derived from various plants, including the dried root of Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi, which is often used as a traditional Chinese herb named Huangqin, a popular medication used for thousands of years in China. Many studies have shown that baicalin, an extract from Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi, exerts various protective effects on liver and gut diseases. Baicalin plays a therapeutic role mainly by mediating downstream apoptosis and immune response pathways induced by upstream oxidative stress and inflammation. During oxidative stress regulation, PI3K/Akt/NRF2, Keap-1, NF-κB and HO-1 are key factors associated with the healing effects of baicalin on NAFLD/NASH, ulcerative colitis and cholestasis. In the inflammatory response, IL-6, IL-1β, TNF-α, MIP-2 and MIP-1α are involved in the alleviation of NAFLD/NASH, cholestasis and liver fibrosis by baicalin, as are TGF-β1/Smads, STAT3 and NF-κB. Regarding the apoptosis pathway, Bax, Bcl-2, Caspase-3 and Caspase-9 are key factors related to the suppression of hepatocellular carcinoma and attenuation of liver injury and colorectal cancer. In addition to immune regulation, PD-1/PDL-1 and TLR4-NF-κB are correlatedwith the alleviation of hepatocellular carcinoma, ulcerative colitis and colorectal cancer by baicalin. Moreover, baicalin regulates intestinal flora by promoting the production of SCFAs. Furthermore, BA is involved in the interactions of the liver-gut axis by regulating TGR5, FXR, bile acids and the microbiota. In general, a comprehensive analysis of this natural compound was conducted to determine the mechanism by which it regulates bile acid metabolism, the intestinal flora and related signaling pathways, providing new insights into the pharmacological effects of baicalin. The mechanism linking the liver and gut systems needs to be elucidated to draw attention to its great clinical importance.

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