Letter to the editor

Recent insights into the biological functions of baicalin

Priscilla Nadalin1, Jae Kwang Kim2, Tae Won Kim3, Sang Un Park1[*]

1Department of Crop Science, Chungnam National University, 99 Daehak-ro, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon, 34134, Korea

2Division of Life Sciences and Convergence Research Center for Insect Vectors, College of Life Sciences and Bioengineering, Incheon National University, Incheon 22012, Korea

3College of Veterinary Medicine, Chungnam National University, 99 Daehak-ro, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 34134, Korea

EXCLI J 2022;21:Doc1019


Flavonoids are molecules possessing a 15-carbon skeleton structure consisting of two aromatic ring systems (A and B rings) and a heterocyclic ring (C). This carbon backbone can be shortened to C6-C3-C6 (Kumar and Pandey, 2013[20]). Flavonoids can be sorted into different subgroups, based on the degree of unsaturation and substitution patterns, consisting of anthocyanins, catechins, chalcone flavanols, flavanones, flavones, flavanonols, flavonols, and isoflavonoids (Santos-Buelga and Feliciano, 2017[38]).

Flavones (from the Latin term flavus meaning "yellow") belong to the group of flavonoids that share a 2-phenylchromen-4-one (2-phenyl-1-benzopyran-4-one) backbone, and are secondary metabolites commonly present in plants and fungi, and are naturally yellow-colored (Panche et al., 2016[34]; Kumar and Pandey, 2013[20]).

Baicalin, a flavone glycoside, is one of the most important bioactive compounds in Scutellaria radix (the dry raw root of Scutellaria baicalensis), which is among the 50 essential herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine (Liang et al., 2017[26]). Baicalin is a 7-O-glucuronide derivative of baicalein, and its synthesis is catalyzed by baicalein 7-O-glucuronosyltransferase in S. baicalensis (Nagashima et al., 2000[32]).

It has been reported effective in exerting several pharmacological activities, namely antibacterial, antiviral, anticancer, anticonvulsant, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, hepatoprotective, and neuroprotective effects (Cui et al., 2022[5]; Wang et al., 2022[51]; Li et al., 2021[24]; Pan et al., 2021[33]). The pharmacological properties of baicalin are attributed to its ability to scavenge reactive oxygen species (ROS) and interact with several signaling molecules related to apoptosis, autophagy, cell cycle, cytoprotection, inflammation, and mitochondrial dynamics (Hu et al., 2022[14]). The therapeutic potential of baicalin warrants further studies as a natural treatment for various human diseases. Here, we report current findings on baicalin's biological properties and pharmacological activities (Table 1(Tab. 1); References in Table 1: Ai et al., 2022[1]; Cai et al., 2022[2]; Changle et al., 2022[3]; Chen et al., 2021[4]; Dou et al., 2020[6]; Fan et al., 2021[8], 2022[7]; Fang et al., 2020[9], 2022[10]; Fu et al., 2020[11]; Hao et al., 2021[12]; He et al., 2022[13]; Huang et al., 2020[15]; Ishfaq et al., 2021[16]; Ji et al., 2022[17]; Jia et al., 2021[18]; Kong et al., 2021[19]; Kunimatsu et al., 2022[21]; Li and Tang, 2021[23]; Li et al., 2020[25], 2022[22]; Lin et al., 2020[27], 2022[28]; Liu et al., 2020[29]; Ma et al., 2021[30]; Miao et al., 2021[31]; Paudel and Kim, 2020[35]; Peng et al., 2021[36]; Rizzo et al., 2021[37]; Shah et al., 2020[39]; Shehatta et al., 2022[40]; Shi et al., 2020[41]; Song et al., 2022[42]; Su et al., 2021[43]; Sui et al., 2021[44]; Sun et al., 2021[46], 2022[45]; Tan et al., 2021[47]; Tsai et al., 2021[48]; Wang et al., 2020[50], 2021[49]; Wu et al., 2020[53], 2021[52]; Xiang et al., 2021[54]; Xiao et al., 2021[55]; Xu et al., 2020[56]; Yang et al., 2020[57], 2022[58]; Yoshida et al., 2021[59]; You et al., 2022[60]; Yu et al., 2022[61]; Zeng et al., 2020[62]; Zhang et al., 2020[64], 2021[63]; Zhao et al., 2021[65]; Zhen et al., 2021[66]; Zou et al., 2021[67]).


Priscilla Nadalin and Jae Kwang Kim contributed equally as first author.



This research was supported by the Bio & Medical Technology Development Program of the National Research Foundation (NRF) & funded by the Korean government (MSIT) (No. 2022M3E5E6018649). First author would like to express her deepest gratitude to the Korean Government (GKS-G-2020-393) for providing funding for her PhD studies.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.



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37. Rizzo V, Ferlazzo N, Currò M, Isola G, Matarese M, Bertuccio MP, et al. Baicalin-induced autophagy preserved LPS-stimulated intestinal cells from inflammation and alterations of paracellular permeability. Int J Mol Sci. 2021;22(5):2315
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41. Shi L, Zhang S, Huang Z, Hu F, Zhang T, Wei M, et al. Baicalin promotes liver regeneration after acetaminophen-induced liver injury by inducing NLRP3 inflammasome activation. Free Radic Biol Med. 2020;160:163-77
42. Song Z, He C, Yu W, Yang M, Li Z, Li P, et al. Baicalin attenuated Aβ1-42-induced apoptosis in SH-SY5Y cells by inhibiting the Ras-ERK signaling pathway. BioMed Res Int. 2022;2022:9491755
43. Su L, Wang R, Qiu T, Wang J, Meng J, Zhu J, et al. The protective effect of baicalin on duck hepatitis A virus type 1-induced duck hepatic mitochondria dysfunction by activating nuclear erythroid 2-related factor 2/antioxidant responsive element signaling pathway. Poult Sci. 2021;100(5):101032
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45. Sun X, Pisano M, Xu L, Sun F, Xu J, Zheng W, et al. Baicalin regulates autophagy to interfere with small intestinal acute graft-versus-host disease. Sci Rep. 2022;12(1):6551
46. Sun X, Wang X, He Q, Zhang M, Chu L, Zhao Y, et al. Investigation of the ameliorative effects of baicalin against arsenic trioxide-induced cardiac toxicity in mice. Int Immunopharmacol. 2021;99:108024
47. Tan N, Sun CX, Zhu HJ, Li DY, Huang SG, He SD. Baicalin attenuates adriamycin-induced nephrotic syndrome by regulating fibrosis procession and inflammatory reaction. Genes Genomics. 2021;43:1011-21
48. Tsai CL, Tsai CW, Chang WS, Lin JC, Hsia TC, Bau DT. Protective effects of baicalin on arsenic trioxide-induced oxidative damage and apoptosis in human umbilical vein endothelial cells. In Vivo. 2021;35:155-62
49. Wang P, Liu J, Zhang S, Zhu P, Xiong X, Yu C, et al. Baicalin promotes chondrocyte viability and the synthesis of extracellular matrix through TGF-β/Smad3 pathway in chondrocytes. Am J Transl Res. 2021;13:10908-21
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57. Yang F, Feng C, Yao Y, Qin A, Shao H, Qian K. Antiviral effect of baicalin on Marek’s disease virus in CEF cells. BMC Vet Res. 2020;16(1):371
58. Yang M, Zhu X, Fu F, Guo Q, Zhu X, Xu Y, et al. Baicalin ameliorates inflammatory response in a mouse model of rhinosinusitis via regulating the Treg/Th17 balance. Ear Nose Throat J. 2022;101(2S):8S-16S
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60. You J, Li H, Fan P, Yang X, Wei Y, Zheng L, et al. Inspiration for COVID-19 treatment: network analysis and experimental validation of baicalin for cytokine storm. Front Pharmacol. 2022;13:853496
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62. Zeng A, Liang X, Zhu S, Liu C, Luo X, Zhang Q, et al. Baicalin, a potent inhibitor of NF-κB signaling pathway, enhances chemosensitivity of breast cancer cells to docetaxel and inhibits tumor growth and metastasis both in vitro and in vivo. Front Pharmacol. 2020;11:879
63. Zhang W, Liu Q, Luo L, Song J, Han K, Liu R, et al. Use Chou's 5-steps rule to study how Baicalin suppresses the malignant phenotypes and induces the apoptosis of colorectal cancer cells. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2021;705:108919
64. Zhang XT, Wang G, Ye LF, Pu Y, Li RT, Liang J, et al. Baicalin reversal of DNA hypermethylation-associated Klotho suppression ameliorates renal injury in type 1 diabetic mouse model. Cell Cycle. 2020;19:3329-47
65. Zhao ZF, Zhang Y, Sun Y, Zhang CH, Liu MW. Protective effects of baicalin on caerulein-induced AR42J pancreatic acinar cells by attenuating oxidative stress through miR-136-5p downregulation. Sci Prog. 2021;104(2):00368504211026118
66. Zhen J, Chen W, Liu Y, Zang X. Baicalin protects against acute pancreatitis involving JNK signaling pathway via regulating miR-15a. Am J Chin Med. 2021;49:147-61
67. Zou M, Yang L, Niu L, Zhao Y, Sun Y, Fu Y, et al. Baicalin ameliorates Mycoplasma gallisepticum-induced lung inflammation in chicken by inhibiting TLR6-mediated NF-κB signalling. Br Poult Sci. 2021;62:199-210

Table 1: Recent studies on the biological and pharmacological activities of baicalin

[*] Corresponding Author:

Sang Un Park, Department of Crop Science, Chungnam National University, 99 Daehak-ro, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon, 34134, Korea; Tel.: +82-42-821-5730, Fax: +82-42-822-2631, eMail: supark@cnu.ac.kr