Background: Baicalin constitutes a natural bioactive flavonoid extracted from Scutellaria baicalensis
Georgi that mediates bone formation. However, the biological functions of baicalin in cementoblasts remain
unclear. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of baicalin on osteogenic differentiation of human
cementoblast (HCEM) cells.
Methods: HCEM cells were cultured and treated with 0, 0.01, 0.1 or 1 µM baicalin. Alkaline phosphatase (ALP)
and runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2) mRNA and protein levels were examined by real-time polymerase
chain reaction and western blot analysis, respectively. Cell mineralization was assessed using Alizarin red staining.
Glycogen synthase kinase-3 beta (GSK3β) phosphorylation was measured in 1 µM baicalin-treated HCEM
cells with or without the Wnt signaling pathway inhibitor, DKK-1 using ELISA and western blotting.
Results: The protein levels of ALP and Runx2 and the intensity of Alizarin red staining were enhanced by baicalin
in a dose-dependent manner compared to that of the non-treated control. The ratio of phosphorylated to total
GSK3β increased in the presence of baicalin but was reduced by the addition of DKK-1. Treatment of HCEMs
with baicalin up-regulated mRNA levels of ALP and Runx2, which were reduced by DKK-1. In addition, the
protein levels of ALP and Runx2, ALP activity, and calcium deposition were also enhanced by baicalin, and these
parameters were inhibited by DKK-1.
Conclusion: Baicalin enhanced osteogenic differentiation of HCEM cells through the Wnt/beta catenin signaling
pathway which may be useful for periodontal tissue regeneration.