Licochalcones extracted from Glycyrrhiza inflata are known to have a variety of biological properties such as anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-tumor activities, but their action on platelet aggregation has not yet been reported. Therefore, in this study we investigated the effects of licochalcones on platelet aggregation. Collagen and U46619, a thromboxane A2 receptor agonist, caused rabbit platelet aggregation, which was reversed by pretreatment with licochalcones A, C and D in concentration-dependent manners. Among these compounds, licochalcone A caused the most potent inhibitory effect on collagen-induced platelet aggregation. However, the licochalcones showed marginal inhibitory effects on thrombin or ADP-induced platelet aggregation. In addition to rabbit platelets, licochalcone A attenuated collagen-induced aggregation in human platelets. Because licochalcone A also inhibited arachidonic acid-induced platelet aggregation and production of thromboxane A2 induced by collagen in intact platelets, we further examined the direct interaction of licochalcone A with cyclooxygenase (COX)-1. As expected, licochalcone A caused an inhibitory effect on both COX-1 and COX-2 in vitro. Regarding the effect of licochalcone A on COX-1 enzyme reaction kinetics, although licochalcone A showed a stronger inhibition of prostaglandin E2 synthesis induced by lower concentrations of arachidonic acid, Vmax values in the presence or absence of licochalcone A were comparable, suggesting that it competes with arachidonic acid at the same binding site on COX-1. These results suggest that licochalcones inhibit collagen-induced platelet aggregation accompanied by inhibition of COX-1 activity.
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