Extract from Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi attenuates oxidant stress in cardiomyocytes

Zuo Hui Shao, Chang Qing Li, Terry L. Vanden Hoek, Lance B. Becker, Paul T. Schumacker, Ji A. Wu, Anoja S. Attele, Chun Su Yuan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations


Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi is a Chinese herbal medicine used to treat allergic and inflammatory diseases. The medicinal effects of S. baicalensis root may result, in part, from its constituent flavones reported to have antioxidant properties. Since oxidants play multiple roles in cells, we tested whether S. baicalensis could confer protection in a cardiomyocyte model of ischemia and reperfusion. The intracellular fluorescent probes 2',7'-dichlorofluorescin diacetate (DCFH-DA, sensitive to H2O2 and hydroxyl radicals) and dihydroethidium (DHE, sensitive to superoxide) were used to assess intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS), and propidium iodide (PI) was used to assess viability in cultured embryonic cardiomyocytes. S. biacalensis extract (SbE) quickly attenuated levels of oxidants generated during transient hypoxia and during exposure to the mitochondrial site III inhibitor antimycin A, as measured by DCFH oxidant or by DHE oxidation. These attenuated oxidant levels were associated with improved survival and function. Cell death after ischemia/reperfusion decreased from 47 ± 3% in untreated to 26 ± 2% in S. baicalensis treated cells (P < 0.001). After antimycin A exposure, S. baicalensis decreased cell death from 49 ± 6% in untreated to 23 ± 4% in treated cells. Return of contraction occurred in S. baicalensis-treated cells but was not observed in control cells. Other in vitro studies revealed that baicalein, a major flavone component of SbE can directly scavenge superoxide, hydrogen peroxide, and hydroxyl radicals. Collectively, these findings indicate that SbE and its constituent flavones such as baicalein can attenuate oxidant stress and protect cells from lethal oxidant damage in an ischemia-reperfusion model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1885-1895
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1999


  • 2',7'-dichlorofluorescin diacetate
  • Antimycin A
  • Baicalein
  • Cardiomyocytes
  • Dihydroethidium
  • Electron transport inhibition
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Hydroxyl radicals
  • Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi
  • Superoxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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