Baicalin inhibits toll-like receptor 2/4 expression and downstream signaling in rat experimental periodontitis

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Periodontitis is a severe inflammatory response, leading to characteristic periodontal soft tissue destruction and alveolar bone resorption. Baicalin possesses potent anti-inflammatory activity; however, it is still unclear whether baicalin regulates toll-like receptor (TLR) 2/4 expression and downstream signaling during the process of periodontitis. In this study, the cervical area of the maxillary second molars of rats was ligated and inoculated with Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis) for 4 weeks to induce periodontitis. Some rats with periodontitis were treated intragastrically with baicalin (50, 100 or 200 mg/kg/day) or vehicle for 4 weeks. Compared with the sham group, the levels of TLR2, TLR4 and MyD88 expression and the p38 MAPK and NF-κB activation were up-regulated in the experimental periodontitis group (EPG), accompanied by marked alveolar bone loss and severe inflammation. Treatment with 100 or 200 mg/kg/day baicalin dramatically reduced the alveolar bone loss, the levels of HMGB1, TNF-α, IL-1β, and MPO expression, and the numbers of inflammatory infiltrates in the gingival tissues. Importantly, treatment with 100 or 200 mg/kg/day baicalin mitigated the periodontitis-up-regulated TLR2, TLR4 and MyD88 expression, and the p38 MAPK and NF-κB activation. Hence, the blockage of the TLR2 and TLR4/MyD88/p38 MAPK/NF-κB signaling by baicalin may contribute to its anti-inflammatory effects in rat model of periodontitis. In conclusion, these novel findings indicate that baicalin inhibits the TLR2 and TLR4 expression and the downstream signaling and mitigates inflammatory responses and the alveolar bone loss in rat experimental periodontitis. Therefore, baicalin may be a potential therapeutic agent for treatment of periodontitis.

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