Context: Licochalcone A (Lico A) is a major and biogenetically characteristic chalcone isolated from the root of Xinjiang liquorice, Glycyrrhiza inflata.
Objective: We focused on investigating whether Lico A possesses distinct anti-inflammatory activity on a non-infectious mouse model of asthma, and we aimed to elucidate its involvement with the mitogen-activated protein kinases pathway.
Methods: BALB/c mice that were sensitized and challenged to ovalbumin (OVA) were treated with Lico A (50 mg/kg) 1 h before they were challenged with OVA.
Results: Our study demonstrated that Lico A may effectively inhibit the increase in T-helper type 2 cytokines, such as interleukin (IL)-4, IL-5 and IL-13 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, and reduced serum levels of OVA-specific IgE and IgG. Furthermore, Lico A substantially inhibited OVA-induced eosinophilia in lung tissue and mucus hyper-secretion by goblet cells in the airway. Meanwhile, pretreatment with Lico A resulted in a significant reduction in mRNA expression of acidic mammalian chitinase, chitinase 3-like protein 4 (Ym2), E-selectin, Muc5ac, CCL11 and CCR3 in lung tissues and airway hyper-responsiveness to methacholine.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that Lico A may effectively delay the progression of airway inflammation and could be used as a therapy for patients with allergic airway inflammation.