Protective effects of licochalcone a improve airway hyper-responsiveness and oxidative stress in a mouse model of asthma

Wen Chung Huang, Chien Yu Liu, Szu Chuan Shen, Li Chen Chen, Kuo Wei Yeh, Shih Hai Liu, Chian Jiun Liou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Licochalcone A was isolated from Glycyrrhiza uralensis and previously reported to have antitumor and anti-inflammatory effects. Licochalcone A has also been found to inhibit the levels of Th2-associated cytokines in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) of asthmatic mice. However, the molecular mechanism underlying airway inflammation and how licochalcone A regulates oxidative stress in asthmatic mice are elusive. In this study, we investigated whether licochalcone A could attenuate inflammatory and oxidative responses in tracheal epithelial cells, and whether it could ameliorate oxidative stress and airway inflammation in asthmatic mice. Inflammatory human tracheal epithelial (BEAS-2B) cells were treated with licochalcone A to evaluate oxidative responses and inflammatory cytokine levels. In addition, BALB/c mice were sensitized with ovalbumin (OVA) and injected intraperitoneally with licochalcone A (5 or 10 mg/kg). Licochalcone A significantly inhibited reactive oxygen species, eotaxin, and proinflammatory cytokines in BEAS-2B cells. Licochalcone A also decreased intercellular adhesion molecule 1 levels in inflammatory BEAS-2B cells, blocking monocyte cell adherence. We also found that licochalcone A significantly decreased oxidative responses, reduced malondialdehyde levels, and increased glutathione levels in the lungs of OVA-sensitized mice. Furthermore, licochalcone A decreased airway hyper-responsiveness, eosinophil infiltration, and Th2 cytokine production in the BALF. These findings suggest that licochalcone A alleviates oxidative stress, inflammation, and pathological changes by inhibiting Th2-associated cytokines in asthmatic mice and human tracheal epithelial cells. Thus, licochalcone A demonstrated therapeutic potential for improving asthma.

Original languageEnglish
Article number617
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Airway hyper-responsiveness
  • Asthma
  • Eosinophil
  • Licochalcone A
  • Oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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