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Licorice root extract and magnesium isoglycyrrhizinate protect against triptolide-induced hepatotoxicity via up-regulation of the Nrf2 pathway

posted on 22.11.2018, 14:57 by Qin-You Tan, Qian Hu, Sheng-Nan Zhu, Lu-Lu Jia, Juan Xiao, Hua-Zhen Su, Shao-Yuan Huang, Jing Zhang, Junfei Jin

Triptolide, the predominant biologically active component of the Chinese herb Tripterygium wilfordii Hook f., possesses numerous pharmacological activities, including anti-inflammatory, anti-fertility, anti-neoplastic, and immunosuppressive effects. However, toxicity and severe adverse effects, particularly hepatotoxicity, limit the clinical application of triptolide. Licorice root extract contains various bioactive compounds and is potent hepatoprotective. Magnesium isoglycyrrhizinate, a magnesium salt of the 18α-glycyrrhizic acid stereoisomer of glycyrrhizic acid, is used clinically in China to treat chronic viral hepatitis and acute drug-induced liver injury. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of the factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 pathway in the protective effects of LE and MIG against triptolide-induced hepatotoxicity. Hepatotoxicity models were established in L-02 cells and rats using triptolide, and the protective effects of LE and MIG were investigated in vitro and in vivo, respectively. LE and MIG significantly protected against triptolide-induced cytotoxicity. Additionally, triptolide decreased the mRNA and protein levels of Nrf2 and down-regulated Nrf2 target genes, including UGT1A, BSEP, and MRP2, while pretreatment with LE and MIG reversed these effects. Finally, Nrf2-involved antioxidant responses were activated in the presence of LE and MIG.


This work was supported by the grants from Chinese National Natural Science Foundation (No. 81360665, No. 81760747), and the Natural Science Foundation of Guangxi (No. 2015GXNSFAA139114, No. 2013GXNSFBA019174, No. 2015GXNSFEA139003).