Licochalcone E reduces chronic allergic contact dermatitis and inhibits IL-12p40 production through down-regulation of NF-kappa B

Int Immunopharmacol. 2010 Sep;10(9):1119-26. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2010.06.015. Epub 2010 Jul 3.


Licochalcone, a constituent of licorice, has antitumor, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory effects. Recently, licochalcone E was isolated from the roots of Glycyrrhiza inflata and its biological functions are not fully examined. In this study, we investigated its ability to modulate production of IL-12p40, a common subunit of IL-12 and IL-23. Licochalcone E dose-dependently inhibited IL-12p40 production from lipopolysaccharide-stimulated RAW264.7 macrophage cells. The repressive effect was mapped to a region in the IL-12 gene promoter containing a binding site for NF-kappaB. Furthermore, licochalcone E decreased binding to the NF-kappaB site in RAW264.7 macrophage cells. Using a chronic allergic contact dermatitis model induced by repeated application of oxazolone, we showed that licochalcone E inhibited the increased IL-12p40 expression and ear thickness induced by oxazolone. Taken together, licochalcone E inhibits IL-12p40 production and has therapeutic potential to reduce skin inflammation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / immunology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chalcones / immunology
  • Chalcones / pharmacology*
  • Chalcones / therapeutic use*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / drug therapy*
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / immunology
  • Down-Regulation
  • Female
  • Interleukin-12 Subunit p40 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Interleukin-12 Subunit p40 / immunology
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • NF-kappa B / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Oxazolone / adverse effects
  • Oxazolone / immunology
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / drug effects
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / immunology


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Chalcones
  • Interleukin-12 Subunit p40
  • NF-kappa B
  • licochalcone E
  • Oxazolone