OxLDL facilitate reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation and up-regulation of the executioner caspase-3 via the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway involves several critical steps in human endothelial cells. Previous studies reported that oxLDLfacilitated endothelial oxidative stress is associated with impairment of eNOS and up-regulation of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). Baicalein is the most abundant component that has anti-HIV, anti-tumor, anti-oxidant and free radical scavenging functions. In this present study, we shown that baicalein hinibits oxLDL-caused endothelial dysfunction through suppression of endothelial inflammation and oxidative stress that causes to cellular apoptosis. Specifically, baicalein reduces the elevation of ROS concentration, which subsequently inhibits the oxLDL-decreased expression of anti-oxidant enzymes, enriches the bioavailability of NO, stabilizes the mitochondrial membrane, thereby inhibiting the discharge of cytochrome c from mitochondria, a molecule required for the activation of the pro-apoptotic protein caspase 3. However, inhibition of eNOS impairs the anti-apoptotic and anti-inflammatory effects of baicalein. These results provide new insight into the possible molecular mechanisms by which baicalein protects against atherogenesis by NO-related pathways.
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