[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An imbalance between overwhelming inflammation and lymphocyte apoptosis is the main cause of high mortality in patients with sepsis. Baicalin, the main active ingredient of the Scutellaria root, exerts anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic, and even antibacterial properties in inflammatory and infectious diseases. However, the therapeutic effect of baicalin on polymicrobial sepsis remains unknown.
Polymicrobial sepsis was induced by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) in C57BL/6 mice. Mice were infused with baicalin intraperitoneally at 1 h, 6 h and 12 h after CLP. Survival rates were assessed over the subsequent 8 days. Bacterial burdens in blood and peritoneal cavity were calculated to assess the bacterial clearance. Neutrophil count in peritoneal lavage fluid was also calculated. Injuries to the lung and liver were detected by hematoxylin and eosin staining. Levels of cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, interleukin (IL)-6, IL-10 and IL-17, in blood and peritoneum were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Adaptive immune function was assessed by apoptosis of lymphocytes in the thymus and counts of different cell types in the spleen. Baicalin significantly enhanced bacterial clearance and improved survival of septic mice. The number of neutrophils in peritoneal lavage fluid was reduced by baicalin. Less neutrophil infiltration of the lung and liver in baicalin-treated mice was associated with attenuated injuries to these organs. Baicalin significantly reduced the levels of proinflammatory cytokines but increased the level of anti-inflammatory cytokine in blood and peritoneum. Apoptosis of CD3(+) T cell was inhibited in the thymus. The numbers of CD4(+), CD8(+) T lymphocytes and dendritic cells (DCs) were higher, while the number of CD4(+)CD25(+) regulatory T cells was lower in the baicalin group compared with the CLP group.
Baicalin improves survival of mice with polymicrobial sepsis, and this may be attributed to its antibacterial property as well as its anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic effects.