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. 2001 Sep;78(3):291-8.
doi: 10.1016/s0960-0760(01)00093-0.

Estrogen-like Activity of Glabrene and Other Constituents Isolated From Licorice Root

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Estrogen-like Activity of Glabrene and Other Constituents Isolated From Licorice Root

S Tamir et al. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. .

Abstract

Licorice root extract and its major isoflavan, glabridin, exhibited varying degrees of estrogen receptor (ER) agonism in different tissues in vitro and in vivo. Animals fed with licorice extract, compared with estradiol and glabridin, showed an increase in creatine kinase (CK) activity, a known marker for estrogen responsive genes, which was higher than expected from the levels of glabridin in the extract. This led us to test for other components that may contribute to this strong estrogen agonist activity. Results indicated that glabrene and isoliquiritigenin, (2',4',4-three hydroxy chalcone) (ILC) in the licorice extract can bind to the human ER with higher affinity (IC50, 1 and 0.5 microM) than glabridin (IC50, 5 microM). The stimulatory effects of glabrene in vivo were tissue specific and similar to those of estradiol. The effect of increasing concentrations of glabrene and ILC on the growth of breast tumor cell were biphasic. Both showed an ER-dependent growth-promoting effect at low concentrations (10 nM-10 microM), and ER-independent antiproliferative activity at concentrations >15 microM. This is the first study to indicate that glabrene, an isoflavene exerted varying degrees of ER agonism in different tissues.

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