Acetaminophen (APAP) overdose is the leading cause of druginduced acute liver failure in Western countries. Glycyrrhizin (GL), a potent hepatoprotective constituent extracted from the traditional Chinese medicine liquorice, has potential clinical use in treating APAP-induced liver failure. The present study determined the hepatoprotective effects and underlying mechanisms of action of GL and its active metabolite glycyrrhetinic acid (GA). Various administration routes and pharmacokinetics-pharmaco dynamics analyses were used to differentiate the effects of GL and GA on APAP toxicity in mice. Mice deficient in cytochrome P450 2E1 enzyme (CYP2E1) or receptor interacting protein 3 (RIPK3) and their relative wild-type littermates were subjected to histologic and biochemical analyses to determine the potential mechanisms. Hepatocyte death mediated by tumor necrosis factor a (TNFa)/caspase was analyzed by use of human liver-derived LO2 cells. The pharmacokinetics- pharmacodynamics analysis using various administration routes revealed that GL but not GA potently attenuated APAP-induced liver injury. The protective effect of GL was found only with intraperitoneal and intravenous administration and not with gastric administration. CYP2E1-mediated metabolic activation and RIPK3-mediated necroptosis were unrelated to GL's protective effect. However, GL inhibited hepatocyte apoptosis via interference with TNFa-induced apoptotic hepatocyte death. These results demonstrate that GL rapidly attenuates APAPinduced liver injury by directly inhibiting TNFa-induced hepatocyte apoptosis. The protective effect against APAP-induced liver toxicity by GL in mice suggests the therapeutic potential of GL for the treatment of APAP overdose.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmaceutical Science