Isoliquiritigenin isolated from licorice Glycyrrhiza uralensis prevents 6-hydroxydopamine-induced apoptosis in dopaminergic neurons.
Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2012 ;76(3):536-43. PMID: 22451397
Cheol Kyu Hwang
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis) is a medicinal herb containing various bioactive components implicated in antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and neuroprotective effects, but the effects of licorice against Parkinson's disease (PD)-related dopaminergic cell death have not been studied. In this study, we investigated the protective effects of isoliquiritigenin (ISL) isolated from Glycyrrhiza uralensis on 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA)-induced neurotoxicity in a dopaminergic cell line, SN4741. ISL (1µM) significantly attenuated 6-OHDA (50 µM)-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) and nitric oxide (NO) generation and apoptotic cell death. ISL pretreatment effectively suppressed 6-OHDA-mediated upregulation of Bax, p-c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), p-p38 mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase, cytochrome c release, and caspase 3 activation. In addition, ISL significantly attenuated 6-OHDA-induced Bcl-2, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) reduction. Pharmacological inhibitors of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)-Akt/protein kinase B (PKB) pathway reversed ISL-mediated neuroprotection against 6-OHDA toxicity in SN4741 cells. These results provide the first evidence that ISL can protect dopaminergic cells under oxidative stress conditions by regulating the apoptotic process.