J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2020 Jan-Feb;34(1):69-82. doi: 10.23812/19-502-A.

Baicalin attenuates lipopolysaccharide-induced renal tubular epithelial cell injury by inhibiting the TXNIP/NLRP3 signalling pathway via increasing miR-223-3p expression.

Sun Y#1, Liu MW#2, Zhao YH1, Lu YX1, Wang YA1, Tong CW1.

Author information

1 Department of Nephrology, The Sixth Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical University, Hongta District, Yuxi, China.
2 Department of Emergency, The First Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical University, Wu Hua District, Kunming, China.
# Contributed equally



Baicalin has been used in China to treat inflammation-related diseases, such as inflammation-induced acute kidney injury (AKI). However, the specific mechanism of baicalin remains unclear. To observe the protective effects of baicalin on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammatory injury of renal tubular epithelial cells (HK-2 cells) and to explore its protective mechanism. LPS (1 mg/L) was used to induce an HK-2 cell inflammatory injury model in vitro. The cells were divided into seven groups: the normal control group, LPS-induced group, LPS plus 5 μmol/L baicalin treatment group, LPS plus 15 μmol/L baicalin treatment group, LPS plus 25 μmol/L baicalin treatment group, LPS plus 50 μmol/L baicalin treatment group, and LPS plus 75 μmol/L baicalin treatment group. 3-(4,5-dimethyl-2-thiazolyl)-2,5- diphenyl-2-H-tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay was employed for detecting the relative survival rate of HK-2 cells. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used for detecting the levels of inflammatory factors, including interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-1β, and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). Moreover, the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS); cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2); nuclear factor kB65 (NF-κB65); phosphorylated NF-κB inhibitory protein-α (p-IκB-α); NF-κB inhibitory protein (IκB); human thioredoxin interacting protein (TXNIP); and human NACHT, LRR, and PYD domain-containing protein 3 (NLRP3) were determined by Western blot analysis. The expression levels of NLRP3 and TXNIP mRNA and miR-223-3p were determined by RT-PCR. Results found that the relative survival rate of HK-2 cells treated with different baicalin concentrations was significantly increased (P<0.05) and the levels of the inflammatory factors IL-6, IL-1β, and TNF-α were significantly decreased (P<0.05) compared with those of the LPS-induced group. The expression levels of the inflammatory proteins inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase-2 and the genes expressions of TXNIP and NLRP3 were significantly decreased in the cells (P<0.05), while the expression level of miR-223- 3p was significantly increased (P<0.05). These changes were induced in a dose-dependent manner. The results suggest that baicalin significantly inhibited the expression of inflammation-related proteins and alleviated LPS-induced inflammatory injury in HK-2 cells. The mechanism may be associated with the inhibition of activation of the TXNIP/NLRP3 inflammatory pathway, which might be mediated by increased expression of miR-223-3p. Thus, NLRP3 is a regulatory target of miR-223-3p.


NLRP3 inflammasome, inflammatory response, mir-223-3p, renal tubular epithelial cells

Publication type

  • Journal Article

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