Purpose Baicalin, a Chinese herbal medicine, has anti-fibrotic and anti-inflammatory effects. The aims of present study were to investigate the effects of baicalin on the myofibroblast differentiation, extracellular matrix production, migration, and collagen contraction of interleukin (IL)-1β-stimulated nasal fibroblasts and to determine the molecular mechanism of baicalin in nasal fibroblasts. Methods Nasal fibroblasts were isolated from the inferior turbinate of patients. Baicalin was used to treat IL-1β-stimulated nasal fibroblasts. To evaluate cytotoxicity, a 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2yl)-2,5- diphenyl-tetrazolium bromide assay was used. The expression levels of α-smooth muscle actin (SMA), fibronectin, phospho-mitogen-activated protein kinase (p-MAPK), p-Akt, p-p50, p-p65, and p-IêBα were measured by western blotting, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR),or immunofluorescence staining. Fibroblast migration was analyzed with scratch assays and transwell migration assays. Total collagen was evaluated with the Sircol collagen assay. Contractile activity was measured with a collagen gel contraction assay. Results Baicalin (0-50 μM) had no significant cytotoxic effects in nasal fibroblasts. The expression of α-SMA and fibronectin were significantly down-regulated in baicalin-treated nasal fibroblasts. Migration, collagen production, and contraction of IL-1β-stimulated nasal fibroblasts were significantly inhibited by baicalin treatment. Baicalin also significantly down-regulated p-MAPK, p-Akt, p-p50, p-p65, and p-IêBα in IL-1β-stimulated nasal fibroblasts. Conclusions We showed that baicalin down-regulated myofibroblast differentiation, extracellular matrix production, migration, and collagen contraction via the MAPK and Akt/ NF-êB pathways in IL-1β-stimulated nasal fibroblasts.
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