The radix of Scutellaria baicalensis (SB) is a herb widely used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat metabolic diseases. Several main components, including baicalin and wogonoside, possess anti-dyslipidemia, anti-obesity and anti-diabetic effects. We hypothesized that co-administration of SB extract and metformin exerts a better effect on obesity-induced insulin resistance and lipid metabolism than treatment with metformin alone. We compared the effect of metformin (100 mg/10 mL/kg/day) alone with co-administration of metformin (100 mg/5 mL/kg/day) and SB extract (200 mg/5 mL/kg/day) on Otsuka Long Evans Tokushima Fatty rats, a useful model of type II diabetes with obesity, and used Long-Evans Tokushima Otsuka rats as a control. Weight, fasting glucose, oral glucose tolerance test, intraperitoneal insulin tolerance test, and serum total cholesterol were measured after 12 weeks of drug administration. We observed a synergetic effect of metformin and SB on lowering cholesterol level by excretion of bile acid through feces. We found that this accompanied activation of FXR, CYP7A1 and LDLR genes and repression of HMGCR in the liver. Although there were no significant changes in BSH-active gut microbiota due to high variability, functional prediction with 16S sequences showed increased primary and secondary bile acid biosynthesis in the combination treatment group. Further study is needed to find the specific strains of bacteria which contribute to FXR-related cholesterol and bile acid regulations.
Han, K., Bose, S., Wang, J. H., Lim, S. kyoung, Chin, Y. W., Kim, Y. M., … Kim, H. (2017). In vivo therapeutic effect of combination treatment with metformin and Scutellaria baicalensis on maintaining bile acid homeostasis. PLoS ONE, 12(9). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0182467