Licochalcone A Prevents the Loss of Dopaminergic Neurons by Inhibiting Microglial Activation in Lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-Induced Parkinson's Disease Models.
Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Sep 22 ;18(10). Epub 2017 Sep 22. PMID: 28937602
The neuroprotective effects of Licochalcone A (Lico.A), a flavonoid isolated from the herb licorice, in Parkinson's disease (PD) have not been elucidated. The prominent pathological feature of PD is the loss of dopaminergic neurons. The crucial role of neuroinflammation induced by activated microglia in dopaminergic neurodegeneration has been validated. In this study, we explore the therapeutic effects of Lico.A in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced PD models in vivo and in vitro. We find that Lico.A significantly inhibits LPS-stimulated production of pro-inflammatory mediators and microglial activation by blocking the phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK1/2) and nuclear factorκB (NF-κB) p65 in BV-2 cells. In addition, through cultured primary mesencephalic neuron-glia cell experiments, we illustrate that Lico.A attenuates the decrease in [³H] dopamine (DA) uptake and the loss of tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive (TH-ir) neurons in LPS-induced PD models in vitro. Furthermore, LPS intoxication in rats results in microglial activation, dopaminergic neurodegeneration and significant behavioral deficits in vivo. Lico.A treatment prevents microglial activation and reduction of dopaminergic neuron and ameliorates PD-like behavioral impairments. Thus, these results demonstrate for the first time that the neuroprotective effects of Lico.A are associated with microglia and anti-inflammatory effects in PD models.