Planta Med 2003; 69(6): 523-526
DOI: 10.1055/s-2003-40655
Original Paper
© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Effects of Baicalein, Berberine, Curcumin and Hesperidin on Mucin Release from Airway Goblet Cells

Choong Jae Lee1 , Jae Heun Lee1 , Jeong Ho Seok1 , Gang Min Hur1 , Yang Chun Park2 , In Chan Seol2 , Yun Hee Kim2
  • 1Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, Chungnam National University, Daejeon, Korea
  • 2Department of Oriental Medicine, College of Oriental Medicine, Daejeon University, Daejeon, Korea
Further Information

Publication History

Received: December 10, 2002

Accepted: March 8, 2003

Publication Date:
16 July 2003 (online)


Baicalein, berberine, curcumin and hesperidin are the major components derived from Scutellaria baicalensis, Coptis japonica, Curcuma longa and Poncirus trifoliata, respectively. These plants have been used for the treatment of diverse chronic inflammatory diseases including respiratory disease in oriental medicine and their respective major components were reported to have various biological effects including anti-inflammatory activity. In the present study, we investigated whether these four natural products affect mucin release from airway goblet cells and compared the possible activities of these agents with the inhibitory action on mucin release by PLL and the stimulatory action by ATP. Confluent primary hamster tracheal surface epithelial (HTSE) cells were metabolically radiolabeled using 3 H-glucosamine for 24 h and chased for 30 min in the presence of varying concentrations of each agent to assess the effects on 3 H-mucin release. The results were as follows: (i) baicalein did not affect mucin release significantly; (ii) berberine, curcumin and hesperidin increased mucin release at the highest concentration (10 - 4 M); (iii) PLL inhibited and ATP increased mucin release. We conclude that berberine, curcumin and hesperidin can increase mucin release by directly acting on airway mucin-secreting cells and suggest that these agents be further studied for possible use as mild expectorants during the treatment of chronic airway diseases.



ATP:adenosine triphosphate

HTSE:hamster tracheal surface epithelial



PBS:phosphate-buffered saline


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Dr. Choong Jae Lee

Department of Pharmacology

College of Medicine

Chungnam National University

6 Munhwa-Dong





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