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1.  Glycyrrhizic Acid Can Attenuate Metabolic Deviations Caused by a High-Sucrose Diet without Causing Water Retention in Male Sprague-Dawley Rats 
Nutrients  2014;6(11):4856-4871.
Glycyrrhizic acid (GA) ameliorates many components of the metabolic syndrome, but its potential therapeutic use is marred by edema caused by inhibition of renal 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 2 (11β-HSD2). We assessed whether 100 mg/kg per day GA administered orally could promote metabolic benefits without causing edema in rats fed on a high-sucrose diet. Groups of eight male rats were fed on one of three diets for 28 days: normal diet, a high-sucrose diet, or a high-sucrose diet supplemented with GA. Rats were then culled and renal 11β-HSD2 activity, as well as serum sodium, potassium, angiotensin II and leptin levels were determined. Histological analyses were performed to assess changes in adipocyte size in visceral and subcutaneous depots, as well as hepatic and renal tissue morphology. This dosing paradigm of GA attenuated the increases in serum leptin levels and visceral, but not subcutaneous adipocyte size caused by the high-sucrose diet. Although GA decreased renal 11β-HSD2 activity, it did not affect serum electrolyte or angiotensin II levels, indicating no onset of edema. Furthermore, there were no apparent morphological changes in the liver or kidney, indicating no toxicity. In conclusion, it is possible to reap metabolic benefits of GA without edema using the current dosage and treatment time.
PMCID: PMC4245567  PMID: 25375630
glycyrrhizic acid; metabolic syndrome; high-sucrose diet; 11β-HSD2; side effects; edema; angiotensin II; electrolytes
2.  Prevalence of Abnormal Glucose Tolerance and Risk Factors in Urban and Rural Malaysia 
Diabetes Care  2011;34(6):1362-1364.
To determine the prevalence of prediabetes and diabetes among rural and urban Malaysians.
This cross-sectional survey was conducted among 3,879 Malaysian adults (1,335 men and 2,544 women). All subjects underwent the 75-g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).
The overall prevalence of prediabetes was 22.1% (30.2% in men and 69.8% in women). Isolated impaired fasting glucose (IFG) and impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) were found in 3.4 and 16.1% of the study population, respectively, whereas 2.6% of the subjects had both IFG and IGT. Based on an OGTT, the prevalence of newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes was 12.6% (31.0% in men and 69.0% in women). The prediabetic subjects also had an increased prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors.
The large proportion of undiagnosed cases of prediabetes and diabetes reflects the lack of public awareness of the disease.
PMCID: PMC3114358  PMID: 21498788
3.  Lipoprotein lipase expression, serum lipid and tissue lipid deposition in orally-administered glycyrrhizic acid-treated rats 
The metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a cluster of metabolic abnormalities comprising visceral obesity, dyslipidaemia and insulin resistance (IR). With the onset of IR, the expression of lipoprotein lipase (LPL), a key regulator of lipoprotein metabolism, is reduced. Increased activation of glucocorticoid receptors results in MetS symptoms and is thus speculated to have a role in the pathophysiology of the MetS. Glycyrrhizic acid (GA), the bioactive constituent of licorice roots (Glycyrrhiza glabra) inhibits 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 that catalyzes the activation of glucocorticoids. Thus, oral administration of GA is postulated to ameliorate the MetS.
In this study, daily oral administration of 50 mg/kg of GA for one week led to significant increase in LPL expression in the quadriceps femoris (p < 0.05) but non-significant increase in the abdominal muscle, kidney, liver, heart and the subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissues (p > 0.05) of the GA-treated rats compared to the control. Decrease in adipocyte size (p > 0.05) in both the visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue depots accompanies such selective induction of LPL expression. Consistent improvement in serum lipid parameters was also observed, with decrease in serum free fatty acid, triacylglycerol, total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol but elevated HDL-cholesterol (p > 0.05). Histological analysis using tissue lipid staining with Oil Red O showed significant decrease in lipid deposition in the abdominal muscle and quadriceps femoris (p < 0.05) but non-significant decrease in the heart, kidney and liver (p > 0.05).
Results from this study may imply that GA could counteract the development of visceral obesity and improve dyslipidaemia via selective induction of tissue LPL expression and a positive shift in serum lipid parameters respectively, and retard the development of IR associated with tissue steatosis.
PMCID: PMC2729303  PMID: 19638239

Results 1-3 (3)