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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Pharmacol. | doi: 10.3389/fphar.2019.01390

2’-hydroxychalcone induced cytotoxicity via oxidative stress in the lipid-loaded HepG2 cells

 Yun Qian1,  Yang Yang1, Kai Wang1, Wenjun Zhou2, Yanqi Dang2,  Mingzhe Zhu3, Fenghua Li1* and  Guang Ji2*
  • 1Experiment Center for Science and Technology, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, China
  • 2Institute of Digestive Diseases, Longhua Hospital Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, China
  • 3School of Public Health, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medcine, China

Licorice is a common herb used in traditional Chinese medicine, and has been widely used clinically. Physiologically although it is relatively safe, licorice-induced hepatotoxicity in the presence of other diseases needs to be evaluated. The present study was conducted to investigate the toxicological effects of the bioactive components of licorice in HepG2 cells cultured with or without free fatty acid (FFA). The compounds, isoliquiritigenin, licorice chalcone A, bavachalcone, and 2’-hydroxy chalcone (2’-HC) inhibited cell proliferation at certain concentrations in lipid loaded cells with limited effects on the normal cells. The representative compound 2’-HC (at a concentration of ≥ 20μM) increased the oxygen consumption rate, ATP production, mitochondrial membrane potential, generation of total and mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, and expression of inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-8) and Caspase-9 protein; and reduced the expression of SOD1. In addition, we found exaggerated lipid accumulation in HepG2 cells treated with FFA. Our results suggest that 2’-HC at a concentration of ≥ 20μM might cause damage to the hepatocytes. The toxicity may be related to excess ROS production and inadequate SOD1 expression, leading to apoptosis, inflammation, and cellular dysfunctions.

Keywords: licorice, 2’-hydroxy chalcone, Hepatotoxicity, Cytotoxicity, Reactive Oxygen Species

Received: 10 Jun 2019; Accepted: 31 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Qian, Yang, Wang, Zhou, Dang, Zhu, Li and Ji. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Prof. Fenghua Li, Experiment Center for Science and Technology, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, China, lfh05@outlook.com
Prof. Guang Ji, Institute of Digestive Diseases, Longhua Hospital Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, 200032, China, jiliver@vip.sina.com