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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011, Article ID 408714, 5 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ecam/nep073
Original Article

Maternal Baicalin Treatment Increases Fetal Lung Surfactant Phospholipids in Rats

1Department of Pediatrics, Taipei Medical University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
2Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan
3Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan

Received 30 December 2008; Accepted 26 May 2009

Copyright © 2011 Chung-Ming Chen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Baicalin is a flavonoid compound purified from the medicinal plant Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi and has been reported to stimulate surfactant protein (SP)-A gene expression in human lung epithelial cell lines (H441). The aims of this study were to determine whether maternal baicalin treatment could increase lung surfactant production and induce lung maturation in fetal rats. This study was performed with timed pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats. One-day baicalin group mothers were injected intraperitoneally with baicalin (5 mg/kg/day) on Day 18 of gestation. Two-day baicalin group mothers were injected intraperitoneally with baicalin (5 mg/kg/day) on Days 17 and 18 of gestation. Control group mothers were injected with vehicle alone on Day 18 of gestation. On Day 19 of gestation, fetuses were delivered by cesarean section. Maternal treatment with 2-day baicalin significantly increased saturated phospholipid when compared with control group and total phospholipid in fetal lung tissue when compared with control and 1-day baicalin groups. Antenatal treatment with 2-day baicalin significantly increased maternal growth hormone when compared with control group. Fetal lung SP-A mRNA expression and maternal serum corticosterone levels were comparable among the three experimental groups. Maternal baicalin treatment increases pulmonary surfactant phospholipids of fetal rat lungs and the improvement was associated with increased maternal serum growth hormone. These results suggest that antenatal baicalin treatment might accelerate fetal rat lung maturation.