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J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Mar 24;52(6):1715-9.

Modulations of the Bcl-2/Bax family were involved in the chemopreventive effects of licorice root (Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fisch) in MCF-7 human breast cancer cell.

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Laboratory of Stem Cell and Tumor Biology, Department of Veterinary Public Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Korea, Korea.


Recently, cancer chemoprevention with strategies using foods and medicinal herbs has been regarded as one of the most visible fields for cancer control. Genistein in soy, American ginseng, and resveratrol are well-known to have antiproliferative properties in human breast cancer. Licorice root is a botanical, a shrub native to southern Europe and Asia, which primarily has desirable qualities in sweetening and herbal medicine. In this study, licorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fisch) root also inhibits cell proliferation in human breast cancer cell. The cell proliferation study demonstrated that licorice root reduced the proliferation of MCF-7 cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. The extracts were fractionated in CHCl(3), EtOAc, C(6)H(14), and CH(3)OH-H(2)O (70:30), and these extracts of licorice root (50 microg/mL) induced DNA fragmentation demonstrated by Hoechst 33258 staining. Apoptosis also determined the sub-G1 accumulation by flow cytometry analysis. These results were consistent with specific cleavage of PARP and antiapoptotic protein Bcl-2 and up-regulation of proapoptotic protein Bax demonstrated by Western blotting. Our findings suggest that licorice root may have chemopreventive effects against human breast cancer through the modulation of the expression of the Bcl-2/Bax family of apoptotic regulatory factors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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