On the mechanism of mitochondrial permeability transition induction by glycyrrhetinic acid

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2004 Oct 4;1658(3):195-201. doi: 10.1016/j.bbabio.2004.05.012.


Glycyrrhetinic acid (GE), the aglycone of glycyrrhizic acid, a triterpene glycoside which represents one of the main constituents of licorice root, induces an oxidative stress in liver mitochondria responsible for the induction of membrane permeability transition. In fact, GE, by interacting with the mitochondrial respiratory chain, generates hydrogen peroxide which in turn oxidizes critical thiol groups and endogenous pyridine nucleotides leading to the opening of the transition pore. Most likely the reactive group of GE is the carbonyl oxygen in C-11 which, by interacting mainly with a Fe/S centre of mitochondrial complex I, generates an oxygen-centered radical responsible for the pro-oxidant action.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane Permeability / drug effects*
  • Glycyrrhetinic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Mitochondria, Liver / drug effects*
  • Mitochondria, Liver / physiology
  • Rats
  • Reactive Oxygen Species


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Glycyrrhetinic Acid