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1.  Synthesis and Proteasome Inhibition of Glycyrrhetinic Acid Derivatives 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2008;16(14):6696-6701.
This study discovered that glycyrrhetinic acid inhibited the human 20S proteasome at 22.3 µM. Esterification of the C-3 hydroxyl group on glycyrrhetinic acid with various carboxylic acid reagents yielded a series of analogs with marked improved potency. Among the derivatives, glycyrrhetinic acid 3-O-isophthalate (17) was the most potent compound with IC50 of 0.22 µM, which was approximately 100-fold more potent than glycyrrhetinic acid.
PMCID: PMC2579312  PMID: 18562200
Glycyrrhetinic acid; proteasome inhibitor; triterpene
2.  Structure-Dependent Inhibition of Bladder and Pancreatic Cancer Cell Growth by 2-Substituted Glycyrrhetinic and Ursolic Acid Derivatives 
Derivatives of oleanolic acid, ursolic acid and glycyrrhetinic acid substituted with electron withdrawing groups at the 2-position in the A-ring which also contains a 1-en-3-one structure are potent inhibitors of cancer cell growth. In this study, we have compared the effects of several 2-substituted analogs of triterpenoid acid methyl esters derived from ursolic and glycyrrhetinic acid on proliferation of KU7 and 253JB-V bladder and Panc-1 and Panc-28 pancreatic cancer cells. The results show that the 2-cyano and 2-trifluoromethyl derivatives were the most active compounds. The glycyrrhetinic acid derivatives with the rearranged C-ring containing the 9(11)-en-12-one structure were generally more active than the corresponding 12-en-11-one isomers. However, differences in growth inhibitory IC50 values were highly variable and dependent on the 2- substitutent (CN vs. CF3) and cancer cell context.
PMCID: PMC2408873  PMID: 18359628
glycyrrhetinate analogs; growth inhibition; bladder cancer; pancreatic cancer
Many of the traditional herbal formulations contain extracts of Piper longum and Glycyrrhiza glabra, piperine and glycyrrhetinic acid respectively, being active constituents of these two herbs. An attempt has been made to develop a simple, precise, rapid, and cost-effective high-performance thin-layer chromatographic (HPTLC) method for simultaneous estimation of these in a herbomineral formulation (Efiplus® Capsules). Precoated silica gel 60 F254 plates with toluene-ethyl acetate-glacial acetic acid 12.5:7.5:0.5, as mobile phase were used in chromatographic determinations. The plates were scanned and the compounds were quantified at their wavelengths of maximum absorption of 260 and 331 nm for glycyrrhetinic acid and piperine respectively. The respective RF, values of glycyrrhetinic acid and piperine were 0.51 and 0.55. Under these experimental conditions linearity was observed between 0.8-2.6 μg/ spot for glycyrrhetinic acid and between 10-50 ng/ spot for piperine and average recovery was 96.25% for glycyrrhetinic acid and 98.55% for piperine.
PMCID: PMC3255427  PMID: 22247845
HPTLC; glycyrrhetinic acid; piperine; herbomineral formulation
4.  Screening of gap junction antagonists on dye coupling in the rabbit retina 
Visual neuroscience  2007;24(4):609-618.
Many cell types in the retina are coupled via gap junctions and so there is a pressing need for a potent and reversible gap junction antagonist. We screened a series of potential gap junction antagonists by evaluating their effects on dye coupling in the network of A-type horizontal cells. We evaluated the following compounds: meclofenamic acid (MFA), mefloquine, 2-aminoethyldiphenyl borate (2-APB), 18-α-glycyrrhetinic acid, 18-β-glycyrrhetinic acid (18-β-GA), retinoic acid, flufenamic acid, niflumic acid, and carbenoxolone. The efficacy of each drug was determined by measuring the diffusion coefficient for Neurobiotin (Mills & Massey, 1998). MFA, 18-β-GA, 2-APB and mefloquine were the most effective antagonists, completely eliminating A-type horizontal cell coupling at a concentration of 200 μM. Niflumic acid, flufenamic acid, and carbenoxolone were less potent. Additionally, carbenoxolone was difficult to wash out and also may be harmful, as the retina became opaque and swollen. MFA, 18-β-GA, 2-APB and mefloquine also blocked coupling in B-type horizontal cells and AII amacrine cells. Because these cell types express different connexins, this suggests that the antagonists were relatively non-selective across several different types of gap junction. It should be emphasized that MFA was water-soluble and its effects on dye coupling were easily reversible. In contrast, the other gap junction antagonists, except carbenoxolone, required DMSO to make stock solutions and were difficult to wash out of the preparation at the doses required to block coupling in A-type HCs. The combination of potency, water solubility and reversibility suggest that MFA may be a useful compound to manipulate gap junction coupling.
PMCID: PMC2213422  PMID: 17711600
Horizontal cells; Retina; Gap junction antagonist
5.  Outcomes in patients with nonerosive reflux disease treated with a proton pump inhibitor and alginic acid ± glycyrrhetinic acid and anthocyanosides 
The purpose of this study was to compare the efficacy of alginic acid alone versus alginic acid combined with low doses of pure glycyrrhetinic acid and bilberry anthocyanosides as an addon to conventional proton pump inhibitor therapy in relieving symptoms associated with nonerosive reflux disease.
This prospective, randomized, 8-week, open-label trial was conducted at two centers. Sixty-three patients with persistent symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease and normal upper gastrointestinal endoscopy were eligible for the study. Patients in group A (n = 31) were treated with pantoprazole and a formula (Mirgeal®) containing alginic acid and low doses of pure glycyrrhetinic acid + standardized Vaccinium myrtillus extract for 4 weeks, then crossed over to the multi-ingredient formula for a further 4 weeks. Patients in group B (n = 32) were treated pantoprazole and alginic acid alone twice daily, then crossed over to alginic acid twice daily for a further 4 weeks. Efficacy was assessed by medical evaluation of a symptom relief score, estimated using a visual analog scale (0–10). Side effects, tolerability, and compliance were also assessed.
Of the 63 patients enrolled in the study, 58 (29 in group A and 29 in group B) completed the 8-week trial. The baseline characteristics were comparable between the two groups. During the study, significant differences were recorded in symptom scores for both groups. In group A, symptoms of chest pain, heartburn, and abdominal swelling were less serious than in group B. Treatment A was better tolerated, did not induce hypertension, and had fewer side effects than treatment B. No significant differences in compliance were found between the two groups.
Use of low doses of pure glycyrrhetinic acid + bilberry anthocyanosides, together with alginic acid as addon therapy, substantially improves symptoms in patients with nonerosive reflux disease without increasing side effects or worsening tolerability or compliance.
PMCID: PMC3615700  PMID: 23569394
proton pump inhibitors; alginic acid; glycyrrhetinic acid; anthocyanosides; nonerosive reflux disease; gastroesophageal reflux disease
6.  Chemical modifications of natural triterpenes - glycyrrhetinic and boswellic acids: evaluation of their biological activity 
Tetrahedron  2008;64(51):11541-11548.
Synthetic analogues of naturally occurring triterpenoids; glycyrrhetinic acid, arjunolic acid and boswellic acids, by modification of A-ring with a cyano- and enone- functionalities, have been reported. A novel method of synthesis of α-cyanoenones from isoxazoles is reported. Bio-assays using primary mouse macrophages and tumor cell lines indicate potent anti-inflammatory and cytotoxic activities associated with cyanoenones of boswellic acid and glycyrrhetinic acid.
PMCID: PMC2900779  PMID: 20622928
7.  Effects of a Non-Conservative Sequence on the Properties of β-glucuronidase from Aspergillus terreus Li-20 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e30998.
We cloned the β-glucuronidase gene (AtGUS) from Aspergillus terreus Li-20 encoding 657 amino acids (aa), which can transform glycyrrhizin into glycyrrhetinic acid monoglucuronide (GAMG) and glycyrrhetinic acid (GA). Based on sequence alignment, the C-terminal non-conservative sequence showed low identity with those of other species; thus, the partial sequence AtGUS(-3t) (1–592 aa) was amplified to determine the effects of the non-conservative sequence on the enzymatic properties. AtGUS and AtGUS(-3t) were expressed in E. coli BL21, producing AtGUS-E and AtGUS(-3t)-E, respectively. At the similar optimum temperature (55°C) and pH (AtGUS-E, 6.6; AtGUS(-3t)-E, 7.0) conditions, the thermal stability of AtGUS(-3t)-E was enhanced at 65°C, and the metal ions Co2+, Ca2+ and Ni2+ showed opposite effects on AtGUS-E and AtGUS(-3t)-E, respectively. Furthermore, Km of AtGUS(-3t)-E (1.95 mM) was just nearly one-seventh that of AtGUS-E (12.9 mM), whereas the catalytic efficiency of AtGUS(-3t)-E was 3.2 fold higher than that of AtGUS-E (7.16 vs. 2.24 mM s−1), revealing that the truncation of non-conservative sequence can significantly improve the catalytic efficiency of AtGUS. Conformational analysis illustrated significant difference in the secondary structure between AtGUS-E and AtGUS(-3t)-E by circular dichroism (CD). The results showed that the truncation of the non-conservative sequence could preferably alter and influence the stability and catalytic efficiency of enzyme.
PMCID: PMC3274521  PMID: 22347419
8.  Synthesis and Pro-Apoptotic Activity of Novel Glycyrrhetinic Acid Derivatives 
Chembiochem  2011;12(5):784-794.
Triterpenoids are used for medicinal purposes in many countries. Some, such as oleanolic and glycyrrhetinic acids, are known to be anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic. However, the biological activities of these naturally occurring molecules against their particular targets are weak, so the synthesis of new synthetic analogues with enhanced potency is needed. By combining modifications to both the A and C rings of 18βH-glycyrrhetinic acid, the novel synthetic derivative methyl 2-cyano-3,12-dioxo-18βH-olean-9(11),1(2)-dien-30-oate was obtained. This derivative displays high antiproliferative activity in cancer cells, including a cell line with a multidrug-resistance phenotype. It causes cell death by inducing the intrinsic caspase-dependent apoptotic pathway.
PMCID: PMC3085123  PMID: 21328513
antitumor agents; apoptosis; biological activity; glycyrrhetinic acid derivatives; medicinal chemistry
9.  Propargylaminyl 3α-hy­droxy-11-oxo-18β-olean-12-en-29-oate 
The title compound, C33H49NO3, is the propargyl­amide of 18β-glycyrrhetinic acid, a penta­cyclic triterpenoid of inter­est as a therapeutic agent. The five six-membered rings of the glycyrrhetinic acid moiety show normal geometries, with four rings in chair conformations and the unsaturated ring C in a half-chair conformation. In the crystal, the terminal N-propargylcarboxamide group has remarkable structural effects on weak hydrogen-bond-like inter­actions. Particularly noteworthy are an inter­molecular O—H⋯π inter­action accepted side-on by the terminal alkyne group [O⋯C = 3.097 (2) and 3.356 (2) Å] and a short inter­molecular C—H⋯O inter­action [C⋯O = 3.115 (2) Å] donated by the alkyne C—H group. An N—H⋯O [N⋯O = 3.251 (2) Å] and a Calkyl—H⋯O [C⋯O = 3.254 (2) Å] interaction complement the crystal structure.
PMCID: PMC3247445  PMID: 22220063
10.  (3β,18β,20β)-N-Eth­oxy­carbonyl­methyl-3-nitrato-11-oxoolean-12-ene-29-carboxamide methanol monosolvate 
The title compound, C34H52N2O7·CH4O, is the methanol solvate of a difunctionalized derivative of the therapeutic agent 18β-glycyrrhetinic acid, a penta­cyclic triterpene. The five six-membered rings of the glycyrrhetinic acid moiety show normal geometries, with four rings in chair conformations and the unsaturated ring in a half-chair conformation. This moiety is substituted by a nitrate ester group and an O-ethyl­glycine group. In the crystal, the nonsolvent mol­ecules are packed parallel to (010) in a herringbone fashion with the nitrato, ethyl­glycine and methanol-O atom being proximate. The methanol solvent mol­ecule is anchored via a donated O—H⋯Oac­yl and an accepted N—H⋯O hydrogen bond, giving rise to infinite zigzag chains of hydrogen bonds parallel to [100]. Two weak intermolecular C—H⋯O interactions to the methanol and to an acyl oxygen establish links along [100] and [010], respectively.
PMCID: PMC3344161  PMID: 22606164
11.  Synthesis of Glycyrrhetinic Acid-Modified Chitosan 5-Fluorouracil Nanoparticles and Its Inhibition of Liver Cancer Characteristics in Vitro and in Vivo 
Marine Drugs  2013;11(9):3517-3536.
Nanoparticle drug delivery (NDDS) is a novel system in which the drugs are delivered to the site of action by small particles in the nanometer range. Natural or synthetic polymers are used as vectors in NDDS, as they provide targeted, sustained release and biodegradability. Here, we used the chitosan and hepatoma cell-specific binding molecule, glycyrrhetinic acid (GA), to synthesize glycyrrhetinic acid-modified chitosan (GA-CTS). The synthetic product was confirmed by Fourier transformed infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) and 1H-nuclear magnetic resonance (1H-NMR). By combining GA-CTS and 5-FU (5-fluorouracil), we obtained a GA-CTS/5-FU nanoparticle, with a particle size of 217.2 nm, a drug loading of 1.56% and a polydispersity index of 0.003. The GA-CTS/5-FU nanoparticle provided a sustained release system comprising three distinct phases of quick, steady and slow release. We demonstrated that the nanoparticle accumulated in the liver. In vitro data indicated that it had a dose- and time-dependent anti-cancer effect. The effective drug exposure time against hepatic cancer cells was increased in comparison with that observed with 5-FU. Additionally, GA-CTS/5-FU significantly inhibited the growth of drug-resistant hepatoma, which may compensate for the drug-resistance of 5-FU. In vivo studies on an orthotropic liver cancer mouse model demonstrated that GA-CTS/5-FU significantly inhibited tumor growth, resulting in increased survival time.
PMCID: PMC3806472  PMID: 24048270
hepatic carcinoma; regulatory T-cells; glycyrrhetinic acid; targeted therapy; 5-fluorouracil
12.  Glycyrrhetinic acid-modified chitosan nanoparticles enhanced the effect of 5-fluorouracil in murine liver cancer model via regulatory T-cells 
Modified chitosan nanoparticles are a promising platform for drug, such as 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), gene, and vaccine delivery. Here, we used chitosan and hepatoma cell-specific binding molecule glycyrrhetinic acid (GA) to synthesize glycyrrhetinic acid-modified chitosan (GA-CTS). The synthetic product was confirmed by infrared spectroscopy and hydrogen nuclear magnetic resonance. By combining GA-CTS and 5-FU, we obtained a GA-CTS/5-FU nanoparticle, with a particle size of 193.7 nm, drug loading of 1.56%, and a polydispersity index of 0.003. The GA-CTS/5-FU nanoparticle provided a sustained-release system comprising three distinct phases of quick, steady, and slow release. In vitro data indicated that it had a dose- and time-dependent anticancer effect. The effective drug exposure time against hepatic cancer cells was increased in comparison with that observed with 5-FU. In vivo studies on an orthotropic liver cancer mouse model demonstrated that GA-CTS/5-FU significantly inhibited cancer cell proliferation, resulting in increased survival time. The antitumor mechanisms for GA-CTS/5-FU nanoparticle were possibly associated with an increased expression of regulatory T-cells, decreased expression of cytotoxic T-cell and natural killer cells, and reduced levels of interleukin-2 and interferon gamma.
PMCID: PMC3810199  PMID: 24187487
hepatic carcinoma; regulatory T cells; glycyrrhetinic acid; targeted therapy; 5-fluorouracil
13.  Glycyrrhetinic Acid-Poly(ethylene glycol)-glycyrrhetinic Acid Tri-Block Conjugates Based Self-Assembled Micelles for Hepatic Targeted Delivery of Poorly Water Soluble Drug 
The Scientific World Journal  2013;2013:913654.
The triblock 18β-glycyrrhetinic acid-poly(ethylene glycol)-18β-glycyrrhetinic acid conjugates (GA-PEG-GA) based self-assembled micelles were synthesized and characterized by FTIR, NMR, transmission electron microscopy, and particle size analysis. The GA-PEG-GA conjugates having the critical micelle concentration of 6 × 10−5 M were used to form nanosized micelles, with mean diameters of 159.21 ± 2.2 nm, and then paclitaxel (PTX) was incorporated into GA-PEG-GA micelles by self-assembly method. The physicochemical properties of the PTX loaded GA-PEG-GA micelles were evaluated including in vitro cellular uptake, cytotoxicity, drug release profile, and in vivo tissue distribution. The results demonstrate that the GA-PEG-GA micelles had low cytotoxicity and good ability of selectively delivering drug to hepatic cells in vitro and in vivo by the targeting moiety glycyrrhetinic acid. In conclusion, the GA-PEG-GA conjugates have potential medical applications for targeted delivery of poor soluble drug delivery.
PMCID: PMC3858885  PMID: 24376388
14.  Optimized synthesis of glycyrrhetinic acid-modified chitosan 5-fluorouracil nanoparticles and their characteristics 
The nanoparticle drug delivery system, which uses natural or synthetic polymeric material as a carrier to deliver drugs to targeted tissues, has a broad prospect for clinical application for its targeting, slow-release, and biodegradable properties. Here, we used chitosan (CTS) and hepatoma cell-specific binding molecule glycyrrhetinic acid to synthesize glycyrrhetinic acid-modified chitosan (GA-CTS). The synthetic product was confirmed by infrared (IR) spectra and hydrogen-1 nuclear magnetic resonance. The GA-CTS/5-fluorouracil (5-FU) nanoparticles were synthesized by combining GA-CTS and 5-FU and conjugating 5-FU onto the GA-CTS nanomaterial. The central composite design was performed to optimize the preparation process as CTS:tripolyphosphate sodium (TPP) weight ratio =5:1, 5-FU:CTS weight ratio =1:1, TPP concentration =0.05% (w/v), and cross-link time =50 minutes. GA-CTS/5-FU nanoparticles had a mean particle size of 193.7 nm, a polydispersity index of 0.003, a zeta potential of +27.4 mV, and a drug loading of 1.56%. The GA-CTS/5-FU nanoparticle had a protective effect on the drug against plasma degrading enzyme, and provided a sustained release system comprising three distinct phases of quick, steady, and slow release. Our study showed that the peak time, half-life time, mean residence time and area under the curve of GA-CTS/5-FU were longer or more than those of the 5-FU group, but the maximum concentration (Cmax) was lower. We demonstrated that the nanoparticles accumulated in the liver and have significantly inhibited tumor growth in an orthotropic liver cancer mouse model.
PMCID: PMC3908832  PMID: 24493926
liver cancer; targeted therapy; chemotherapy; pharmacokinetics efficacy
15.  Comparative study for pharmaceutical quality among bland-name drug and generic drugs of compound glycyrrhizin injections in China 
The physicochemical properties (pH and osmolarity), ingredients, and impurities containing in compound glycyrrhizin injections (eight items) marketed in China were compared with those in bland-name drug (Stronger Neo-Minophagen C injection). Glycyrrhizin (GZ), glycine (Gly), and l-cysteine (CysH) as the ingredients, moreover, glycyrrhetinic acid (GA), 3-monoglucuronyl-glycyrrhetinic acid (MGGA), and l-cystine (CysS) as the impurity were determined by HPLC. The pH and osmolarity were different every each pharmaceutical product, but the variation between batch was very small. On the other hand, although the contents of GZ, Gly, and CysH in bland-name drug were approximately 100% of the label claim, the contents of GZ in generic drugs were the range of 91.8-100.9%, indicating the GZ contents in four products were clearly less than value indicated in label (<97%). The remarkable difference was not accepted by impurities content such as GA and MGGA. The contents of CysH in generic drugs were the range of 79.9-100.4%, and CysS was determined in all generic drugs, suggesting that CysH may decompose to be CysS depending on the pH of injections in generic drug only. Because the variation of the ingredient content was big and products with a little quantity for the ingredients were recognized, establishment of the preparation that can maintain the prescribed ingredient content and the severity of the assay will be required.
PMCID: PMC3979248  PMID: 24826049
Generic drug; glycyrrhetinic acid; glycyrrhizae radix; glycyrrhizin; quality evaluation
16.  Interaction of Natural Dietary and Herbal Anionic Compounds and Flavonoids with Human Organic Anion Transporters 1 (SLC22A6), 3 (SLC22A8), and 4 (SLC22A11) 
Active components of complementary/alternative medicines and natural supplements are often anionic compounds and flavonoids. As such, organic anion transporters (OATs) may play a key role in their pharmacokinetic and pharmacological profiles, and represent sites for adverse drug-drug interactions. Therefore, we assessed the inhibitory effects of nine natural products, including flavonoids (catechin and epicatechin), chlorogenic acids (1,3- and 1,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid), phenolic acids (ginkgolic acids (13 : 0), (15 : 1), and (17 : 1)), and the organic acids ursolic acid and 18β-glycyrrhetinic acid, on the transport activity of the human OATs, hOAT1 (SLC22A6), hOAT3 (SLC22A8), and hOAT4 (SLC22A11). Four compounds, 1,3- and 1,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid, ginkgolic acid (17 : 1), and 18β-glycyrrhetinic acid, significantly inhibited hOAT1-mediated transport (50 μM inhibitor versus 1 μM substrate). Five compounds, 1,3- and 1,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid, ginkgolic acids (15 : 1) and (17 : 1), and epicatechin, significantly inhibited hOAT3 transport under similar conditions. Only catechin inhibited hOAT4. Dose-dependency studies were conducted for 1,3-dicaffeoylquinic acid and 18β-glycyrrhetinic acid on hOAT1, and IC50 values were estimated as 1.2 ± 0.4 μM and 2.7 ± 0.2 μM, respectively. These data suggest that 1,3-dicaffeoylquinic acid and 18β-glycyrrhetinic acid may cause significant hOAT1-mediated DDIs in vivo; potential should be considered for safety issues during use and in future drug development.
PMCID: PMC3618943  PMID: 23573138
17.  Unifying Mechanisms of Action of the Anticancer Activities of Triterpenoids and Synthetic Analogs 
Triterpenoids such as betulinic acid (BA) and synthetic analogs of oleanolic acid [2-cyano-3,12-dioxooleana-1,9-dien-28-oic acid (CDDO)] and glycyrrhetinic acid [2-cyano-3,11-dioxo-18β-oleana-1,12-dien-30-oc acid (CDODA)] are potent anticancer agents that exhibit antiproliferative, antiangiogenic, anti-inflammatory and pro-apoptotic activities. Although their effects on multiple pathways have been reported, unifying mechanisms of action have not been reported. Studies in this laboratory have now demonstrated that several triterpenoids including BA and some derivatives, celastrol, methyl ursolatee, β-boswellic acid derivatives, and the synthetic analogs CDDO, CDODA and their esters decreased expression of specificity protein (Sp) transcription factors and several pro-oncogenic Sp-regulated genes in multiple cancer cell lines. The mechanisms of this response are both compound- and cell context-dependent and include activation of both proteasome-dependent and -independent pathways. Triterpenoid-mediated induction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) has now been characterized as an important proteasome-independent pathway for downregulation of Sp transcription factors. ROS decreases expression of microRNA-27a (miR-27a) and miR-20a/miR-17-5p and this results in the induction of the transcriptional “Sp-repressors” ZBTB10 and ZBTB4, respectively, which in turn downregulate Sp and Sp-regulated genes. Triterpenoids also activate or deactive nuclear receptors and G-protein coupled receptors, and these pathways contribute to their antitumorigenic activity and may also play a role in targeting Sp1, Sp3 and Sp4 which are highly overexpressed in multiple cancers and appear to be important for maintaining the cancer phenotype.
PMCID: PMC3532564  PMID: 22583404
Sp transcription factors; downregulation; reactive oxygen species
18.  Inhibition of peptic activity by carbenoxolone and glycyrrhetinic acid 
Gut  1970;11(4):344-351.
Carbenoxolone (Biogastrone, Berk) has been shown to reduce the peptic activity and total acidity of gastric juice obtained from anaesthetized pylorus-ligated rats without affecting significantly the volume of gastric juice secreted or the K+ concentration. Glycyrrhetinic acid was less potent in reducing peptic activity and caused no reduction in total acidity.
Antipeptic activity of carbenoxolone has also been demonstrated in vitro using the pepsin plate technique and the haemoglobin pepsin assay.
It is suggested that these actions of carbenoxolone may contribute to the increased rate of healing of peptic ulcer in patients treated with the drug.
PMCID: PMC1411413  PMID: 4913800
19.  Antitumor Agents 255. Novel Glycyrrhetinic Acid-Dehydrozingerone Conjugates as Cytotoxic Agents 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2007;15(18):6193-6199.
Esterification of glycyrrhetinic acid (GA) with dehydrozingerone (DZ) resulted in a novel cytotoxic GA-DZ conjugate. Based on this exciting finding, we conjugated eleven different DZ analogs with GA or other triterpenoids, including oleanoic acid (OA) or ursolic acid (UA). In an in vitro anticancer assay using nine different human tumor cell lines, most of the GA-DZ conjugates showed significant potency. Particularly, compounds 5, 29, and 30 showed significant cytotoxic effects against LN-Cap, 1A9, and KB cells with ED50 values of 0.6, 0.8, and 0.9 μM, respectively. Similar conjugates between DZ and OA or UA were inactive suggesting that the GA component is critical for activity. Notably, although GA-DZ conjugates showed potent cytotoxic activity, the individual components (GA and DZ analogs) were inactive. Thus, GA-DZ conjugates are new chemical entities and represent interesting hits for anticancer drug discovery and development.
PMCID: PMC2034305  PMID: 17591444
Glycyrrhetinic acid; Dehydrozingerone; Conjugation; Cytotoxicity
20.  Infusion of gliotoxins or a gap junction blocker in the prelimbic cortex increases alcohol preference in Wistar rats 
Postmortem research has revealed that there is a lower density of glial cells in regions of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) of uncomplicated alcoholics when compared with control subjects. Impairment of astrocyte function in the PFC may contribute to malfunction in circuits involved in emotion- and reward-related subcortical centers, heavily connected with the PFC and directly involved in the pathophysiology of addictive behaviours. The hypothesis was tested that infusion of gliotoxins known to injure astrocytes or of a gap junction blocker into the prelimbic area of the rat PFC results in increased preference for ethanol in rats exposed to free choice between water and 10% ethanol. Fluorocitric acid, L-α-aminoadipic acid (AAD) or the gap junction blocker 18-α-glycyrrhetinic acid (AGA) were bilaterally infused once into the rat prelimbic cortex and alcohol preference (ratio of 10% ethanol consumed to total liquid ingested) was measured before and after infusion. Infusion of AAD or AGA dissolved in their vehicles, but not of their vehicles alone, resulted in significant transient increase of preference for 10% ethanol. The present data suggest that impaired integrity of glial cells or the gap junctional communication between them in the rat PFC may contribute to changes in ethanol preference.
PMCID: PMC2697276  PMID: 18562436
alcoholism; astrocytes; glia; prefrontal cortex; rat model
21.  Plant Natural Compounds with Antibacterial Activity towards Common Pathogens of Pond-Cultured Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) 
Toxins  2010;2(7):1676-1689.
The bacteria Edwardsiella ictaluri and Flavobacterium columnare cause enteric septicemia and columnaris disease, respectively, in channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus). Natural therapeutants may provide an alternative to current management approaches used by producers. In this study, a rapid bioassay identified plant compounds as potential therapeutants. Chelerythrine chloride and ellagic acid were the most toxic toward E. ictaluri, with 24-h IC50 of 7.3 mg/L and 15.1 mg/L, respectively, and MIC of 2.1 mg/L and 6.5 mg/L, respectively. Chelerythrine chloride, ellagic acid, β-glycyrrhetinic acid, sorgoleone, and wogonin were the most toxic towards two genomovars of F. columnare, and wogonin had the strongest antibacterial activity (MIC = 0.3 mg/L).
PMCID: PMC3153272  PMID: 22069655
antibacterial; channel catfish; chelerythrine; columnaris; ellagic acid; enteric septicemia of catfish; β-glycyrrhetinic acid; sorgoleone; therapeutant; wogonin
22.  Glycyrrhizic Acid in the Treatment of Liver Diseases: Literature Review 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:872139.
Glycyrrhizic acid (GA) is a triterpene glycoside found in the roots of licorice plants (Glycyrrhiza glabra). GA is the most important active ingredient in the licorice root, and possesses a wide range of pharmacological and biological activities. GA coupled with glycyrrhetinic acid and 18-beta-glycyrrhetic acid was developed in China or Japan as an anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antiallergic drug for liver disease. This review summarizes the current biological activities of GA and its medical applications in liver diseases. The pharmacological actions of GA include inhibition of hepatic apoptosis and necrosis; anti-inflammatory and immune regulatory actions; antiviral effects; and antitumor effects. This paper will be a useful reference for physicians and biologists researching GA and will open the door to novel agents in drug discovery and development from Chinese herbs. With additional research, GA may be more widely used in the treatment of liver diseases or other conditions.
PMCID: PMC4052927  PMID: 24963489
23.  Enhanced spontaneous Ca2+ events in endothelial cells reflect signalling through myoendothelial gap junctions in pressurized mesenteric arteries 
Cell calcium  2008;44(2):135-146.
Increases in global Ca2+ in the endothelium are a crucial step in releasing relaxing factors to modulate arterial tone. In the present study we investigated spontaneous Ca2+ events in endothelial cells, and the contribution of smooth muscle cells to these Ca2+ events, in pressurized rat mesenteric resistance arteries. Spontaneous Ca2+ events were observed under resting conditions in 34% of cells. These Ca2+ events were absent in arteries preincubated with either cyclopiazonic acid or U-73122, but were unaffected by ryanodine or nicotinamide. Stimulation of smooth muscle cell depolarization and contraction with either phenylephrine or high concentrations of KCl significantly increased the frequency of endothelial cell Ca2+ events. The putative gap junction uncouplers carbenoxolone and 18· -glycyrrhetinic acid each inhibited spontaneous and evoked Ca2+ events, and the movement of calcein from endothelial to smooth muscle cells. In addition, spontaneous Ca2+ events were diminished by nifedipine, lowering extracellular Ca2+ levels, or by blockers of non-selective Ca2+ influx pathways. These findings suggest that in pressurized rat mesenteric arteries, spontaneous Ca2+ events in the endothelial cells appear to originate from endoplasmic reticulum IP3 receptors, and are subject to regulation by surrounding smooth muscle cells via myoendothelial gap junctions, even under basal conditions.
PMCID: PMC2635531  PMID: 18191200
Endothelial cells; Rat mesenteric arteries; Gap junctions; Spontaneous Ca2+ events
24.  Cardiac Mitochondrial Connexin 43 Regulates Apoptosis 
Connexin 43 (Cx43) is thought to be present largely in the plasma membrane and its function solely to provide low resistance electrical connection between myocytes. A recent report suggested the presence of Cx43 in the mitochondria as well. We confirmed the presence of Cx43 in the mitochondria isolated from adult rat ventricles with the Cx43 immunoreactivity fractionating to the outer mitochondrial membrane. Mitochondrial Cx43 is mostly phosphorylated only detected by a phospho-specific antibody. Using a Ca++-sensitive electrode and Western blot, we showed that the gap junction inhibitors 18-β-glycyrrhetinic acid (β-GA), oleamide, and heptanol all induced concomitant release of Ca++ and cytochrome C in isolated mitochondria whereas the inactive analog 18-β-glycyrrhizic acid failed to do so. In low density neonatal myocyte culture with no appreciable cell-cell contacts, β-GA induced apoptosis as assessed by TUNEL staining. Our results suggest a novel role of Cx43 as a regulator of mitochondrial physiology and myocyte apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC1829482  PMID: 17107662
mitochondria; connexins; apoptosis; β-glycyrrhetinic acid; gap junction inhibitors; cytochrome C; TUNEL; cardiac myocytes
25.  Synthesis of liver-targeting dual-ligand modified GCGA/5-FU nanoparticles and their characteristics in vitro and in vivo 
Nanoparticle drug delivery systems using polymers hold promise for clinical applications. We synthesized dual-ligand modified chitosan (GCGA) nanoparticles using lactic acid, glycyrrhetinic acid, and chitosan to target the liver in our previous studies. We then synthesized the GCGA/5-FU nanoparticles by conjugating 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) onto the GCGA nanomaterial, which had a mean particle size of 239.9 nm, a polydispersity index of 0.040, a zeta potential of +21.2 mV, and a drug loading of 3.90%. GCGA/5-FU nanoparticles had good slow release properties, and the release process could be divided into five phases: small burst release, gentle release, second burst release, steady release, and slow release. Inhibitory effects of GCGA/5-FU on tumor cells targeted the liver, and were time and dose dependent. GCGA nanoparticles significantly prolonged the efficacy of 5-FU on tumor cells, and alleviated the resistance of tumor cells to 5-FU. GCGA/5-FU nanoparticles were mostly concentrated in the liver, indicating that the GCGA nanoparticles were liver targeting. GCGA/5-FU nanoparticles significantly suppressed tumor growth in orthotopic liver transplantation mouse model, and improved mouse survival.
PMCID: PMC3826867  PMID: 24232303
liver cancer; chemotherapy; targeted therapy; 5-fluorouracil

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