Tumor Biology

, Volume 36, Issue 6, pp 4731–4740 | Cite as

Baicalein induces human osteosarcoma cell line MG-63 apoptosis via ROS-induced BNIP3 expression

  • Fangfan Ye
  • Honghan Wang
  • Lusi Zhang
  • Yongyi Zou
  • Hailong Han
  • Jia HuangEmail author
Research Article


Baicalein, a flavonoid compound, is one of the active constituents of the root of Scutellariae Radix. Its antitumor effects have attracted widespread attention worldwide. One of its major functions is to induce the apoptosis of tumor cells, but the antitumor mechanism is currently unclear. In the present study, we found that baicalein increased MG-63 cell mortality in a dose-dependent manner. Meanwhile, baicalein activated apoptosis through induced intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, and that ROS scavenger N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), glutathione (GSH), and superoxide dismutase (SOD) apparently inhibited intracellular ROS production, consequently attenuating the baicalein-induced apoptosis. Baicalein also induce the mitochondrial fragmentation which precedes the cell apoptosis. This morphological alteration is accompanied by an increase in the expression of the protein BNIP3 as well as Mul1 and Drp1. Furthermore, we show that the inhibition of BNIP3 expression can inhibit cell apoptosis by baicalein treatment. Taken together, our results bring the evidence of a mechanism that links apoptosis and ROS-induced BNIP3 expression in MG-63 cells with bacalein treatment and suggest that baicalein has a good potential as an anti-osteosarcoma drug.


Apoptosis Osteosarcoma Baicalein ROS BNIP3 



Reactive oxygen species






Superoxide dismutase


BCL2/adenovirus E1B 19 kDa interacting protein 3


Lactate dehydrogenase


Conflicts of interest


Authors’ contributions

Fangfan Ye drafted the article. Honghan Wang, Lusi Zhang, Yongyi Zou, and HaiLong Han were in charge in acquisition of data, analysis and interpretation of data, and revision of the article. Jia Huang took control in the conception and design.


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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fangfan Ye
    • 1
  • Honghan Wang
    • 2
  • Lusi Zhang
    • 3
  • Yongyi Zou
    • 4
  • Hailong Han
    • 4
  • Jia Huang
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Anesthesiology, Hunan Provincial People’s HospitalThe First Affiliated Hospital of Hunan Normal UniversityChangshaChina
  2. 2.Department of Head and Neck Surgery, Hunan Provincial Tumor Hospital and the Affiliated Tumor Hospital of Xiangya Medical SchoolCentral South UniversityChangshaChina
  3. 3.Department of Ophthalmology, Second Xiangya HospitalCentral South UniversityChangshaChina
  4. 4.State Key Laboratory of Medical GeneticsCentral South UniversityChangshaChina
  5. 5.Department of Critical Care Medicine, Second Xiangya HospitalCentral South UniversityChangshaChina

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