Liquiritigenin induces tumor cell death through mitogen-activated protein kinase- (MPAKs-) mediated pathway in hepatocellular carcinoma cells.
Biomed Res Int. 2014 ;2014:965316. Epub 2014 Mar 11. PMID: 24738081
Liquiritigenin (LQ), separated from Glycyrrhiza radix, possesses anti-inflammatory, antihyperlipidemic, and antiallergic effects. Our present study aims to investigate the antihepatocellular carcinoma effects of LQ both in cell and animal models. LQ strikingly reduced cell viability, enhanced apoptotic rate, induced lactate dehydrogenase over-release, and increased intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) level and caspase 3 activity in both PLC/PRL/5 and HepG2 cells. The expression of cleaved PARP, the hall-marker of apoptosis, was enhanced by LQ. LQ treatment resulted in a reduction of the expressions of B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) and B-cell lymphoma-extra large (Bcl-xL), and an increase of the phosphorylation of c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNK) and P38. LQ-mediated cell viability reduction, mitochondrial dysfunction, apoptosis related protein abnormal expressions, and JNK and P38 activation were partially abolished by N-Acetyl-L-cysteine (a ROS inhibitor) pretreatment. Moreover, LQ suppressed the activation of extracellular signaling-regulated kinase (ERKs) and reduced the translocation of phosphor-ERKs from cytoplasm to nucleus. This antitumor activity was further confirmed in PLC/PRL/5-xenografted mice model. All these data indicate that the antihepatocellular carcinoma effects of LQ are related to its modulation of the activations of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPKs). The study provides experimental evidence supporting LQ as a potential therapeutic agent for hepatocellular carcinoma treatment.