Glabridin induces oxidative stress mediated apoptosis like cell death of malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum

Parasitol Int. 2014 Apr;63(2):349-58. doi: 10.1016/j.parint.2013.12.005. Epub 2013 Dec 18.


Plants are known as the source of novel agents for developing new antimalarial drugs. Glabridin is a polyphenolic flavonoid, a main constituent in the roots of Glycyrrhiza glabra possesses various biological activities. However, its anti-plasmodial activity is unexplored. In the present work, it is for the first time demonstrated that glabridin inhibits Plasmodium falciparum growth in vitro with an IC50 23.9±0.43μM. Glabridin showed poor cytotoxicity in vitro with an IC50 246.6±0.88μM against Vero cell line and good selectivity index (9.6). In erythrocytic cycle, trophozoite stage was found to be most sensitive to glabridin. In silico study showed that glabridin inhibits Pf LDH enzyme activity by acting on NADH binding site. Glabridin induced oxidative stress by the generation of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. Glabridin could induce apoptosis in parasite as evidenced by the depolarization of mitochondrial membrane potential (Δψm), activation of caspase like proteases and DNA fragmentation. These results indicate that glabridin exhibits antiplasmodial activity and is suitable for developing antimalarial agent from a cheap and sustainable source.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Glabridin; Oxidative stress; P. falciparum; Pf LDH; Reactive oxygen species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Catalytic Domain
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Erythrocytes / parasitology
  • Humans
  • Isoflavones / pharmacology*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Phenols / pharmacology*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / cytology
  • Plasmodium falciparum / drug effects*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / physiology*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protozoan Proteins / metabolism
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Vero Cells


  • Isoflavones
  • Phenols
  • Protozoan Proteins
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • glabridin