2012 Volume 35 Issue 8 Pages 1281-1286
Baicalein is a flavonoid (5,6,7-trihydroxy-2-phenyl-4H-1-benzopyran4-one) and an active principle in Scutellaria baicalensis. The present study was performed to investigate the mechanisms underlying the anti-fibrotic effects of baicalein with a focus on Rho kinase (ROCK) inhibition. The effect of baicalein on ROCK activity was analyzed using an immobilized metal affinity for phosphochemicals (IMAP)-based time-resolved fluorescence resonance energy transfer (TR-FRET) assay. The underlying mechanisms of baicalein were examined using angiotensin II-stimulated H9c2 cells. Rho kinase (ROCK1 and ROCK2) studies using IMAP-TR-FRET showed that baicalein possesses potent ROCK inhibitory activity with IC50 values of 6.55 and 2.82 µM, respectively. Pretreatment with baicalein (for 2 h) concentration-dependently decreased the angiotensin II-induced phosphorylation of myosin phosphatase (MYPT) and myosin light chain (MLC). Furthermore, baicalein also concentration-dependently suppressed actin stress fiber formation in angiotensin II-stimulated H9c2 cells. These results suggest that baicalein potently inhibits ROCK and that by so doing it modulates actin stress fiber formation. These anti-fibrotic effects of baicalein explain, at least in part, its pharmacology and mode of action.