Licorice root, Glycyrrhiza inflata, has been used as a traditional medicine for the treatment of bronchial asthma and inflammation; however, the mechanism of its anti-inflammatory activity has not been clarified. Here, we investigated the effect of Licochalcone A, a major component of G. inflata, on the LPS signaling pathway. We found that Licochalcone A remarkably inhibited LPS-induced NO production, and TNFα expression and MCP-1 expression in both RAW264.7 cells and primary macrophages. Furthermore, when injected with Licochalcone A prior to injection of LPS, the serum level of TNFα and MCP-1 in C57BL/6 mice was clearly decreased, indicating that Licochalcone A has a potent anti-inflammatory effect both in vitro and in vivo. Strikingly, Licochalcone A significantly inhibited LPS-induced NF-κB transcriptional activation; however, it had no effect on not only the phosphorylation and degradation of IκBα but also nuclear translocation and DNA binding activity of NF-κB p65. Interestingly, Licochalcone A markedly inhibited the phosphorylation of p65 at serine 276. As a result, it reduced NF-κB transactivation by preventing the interaction of p65 with p300. Taken together, Licochalcone A might contribute to the potent anti-inflammatory effect of G. inflata through the unique mechanism of NF-κB inhibition.
ASJC Scopus subject areas