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Planta Med. 1990 Jun;56(3):254-8.

Isoliquiritigenin: a new aldose reductase inhibitor from glycyrrhizae radix.

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Third Department of Internal Medicine, University of Yamanashi Medical School, Japan.


Traditionally in Japan, some kampo medicines (traditional oriental herbal prescriptions) have long been used for the treatment of diabetic neuropathy. We have found that some aldose reductase inhibitors are included among these drugs. We further investigated the components of glycyrrhizae radix, a constituent of some kampo medicines, and isolated six compounds (GUs 9-17). Among these, GU-17, identified as isoliquiritigenin, had the most potent aldose reductase inhibiting activity. Isoliquiritigenin inhibited rat lens aldose reductase with an IC50 of 3.2 x 10(-7) M, using DL-glyceraldehyde as a substrate. It inhibited sorbitol accumulation in human red blood cells in vitro, with an IC50 of 2.0 x 10(-6) M. Isoliquiritigenin, when administered via an intragastric tube to diabetic rats, suppressed sorbitol accumulation in the red blood cells, the sciatic nerve, and the lens as effectively as ONO-2235. These results suggest that isoliquiritigenin may be effective in preventing diabetic complications.

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