Regulation of Caspase Activity During Apoptosis Induced by Baicalein in HL60 Human Leukemia Cell Line

  • Byun, Boo-Hyeong (College of Oriental Medicine, Daegu Haany University) ;
  • Kim, Bu-Yeo (Department of Medical Research, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine)
  • Published : 2008.12.31


Baicalein, one of the major flavonoid in Scutellaria baicalensis, has been known for its effects on proliferation and apoptosis of many tumor cell lines. Most biological effects of baicalein are thought to be from its antioxidant and prooxidant activities. In this report, baicalein was found to induce apoptosis in HL60 human promyelocytic leukemia cell line. Baicalein treatment induced DNA fragmentation and typical morphological features of apoptosis. To elucidate the mechanism of baicalein-induced apoptosis, the activities of the members of caspase family were measured. Interestingly caspase 2, 3, and 6 were significantly activated whereas caspase 1, 8, and 9 were not activated, suggesting selective involvement of specific caspases. Further, treatment with caspase inhibitors also supports the involvement of caspase 2 in apoptosis process. Although it has been reported that baicalein can induce apoptosis through many caspase pathways, the present study indicates that caspase 2 not caspase 9 pathway may be the important step in apoptosis on HL60 cell line.


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