For the alleviation of menopausal symptoms, women frequently turn to botanical dietary supplements, such as licorice and hops. In addition to estrogenic properties, these botanicals could also have chemopreventive effects. We have previously shown that hops and its Michael acceptor xanthohumol (XH) induced the chemoprevention enzyme,
quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1), in vitro and in vivo. Licorice species could also induce NQO1, as they contain the Michael acceptors isoliquiritigenin (LigC) found in Glycyrrhiza glabra (GG), G. uralensis (GU), G. inflata (GI), and licochalcone A (LicA) which is only found in GI. These licorice species and hops induced NQO1 activity in murine hepatoma (Hepa1c1c7) cells; hops ≫ GI > GG ≅ GU. Similar to the known chemopreventive compounds curcumin (turmeric), sulforaphane (broccoli), and XH, LigC and LicA were active dose-dependently; sulforaphane ≫ XH > LigC > LicA ≅ curcumin ≫ liquiritigenin (LigF). Induction of the antioxidant response element luciferase in human hepatoma (HepG2-ARE-C8) cells suggested involvement of the Keap1-Nrf2 pathway. GG, GU, and LigC also induced NQO1 in nontumorigenic breast epithelial MCF-10A cells. In female Sprague-Dawley rats treated with GG and GU, LigC and LigF were detected in the liver and mammary gland. GG weakly enhanced NQO1 activity in the mammary tissue but not in the liver. Treatment with LigC alone did not induce NQO1 in vivo most likely due to its conversion to LigF, extensive metabolism, and its low bioavailability in vivo. These data show the chemopreventive potential of licorice species in vitro could be due to LigC and LicA and emphasize the importance of chemical and biological standardization of botanicals used as dietary supplements. Although the in vivo effects in the rat model after four-day treatment are minimal, it must be emphasized that menopausal women take these supplements for extended periods of time and long-term beneficial effects are quite possible.
Download Full PDF Version (Non-Commercial Use)