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J Pharmacol Sci. 2012;118(1):82-91. Epub 2011 Dec 21.

Novel action of the chalcone isoliquiritigenin as a cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) inhibitor: potential therapy for cholera and polycystic kidney disease.

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Department of Physiology, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Thailand.


Overstimulation of cAMP-activated Cl(-) secretion can cause secretory diarrhea. Isoliquiritigenin (ISLQ) is a plant-derived chalcone that has a wide range of biological activities. The present study thus aimed to investigate the effect of ISLQ on cAMP-activated Cl(-) secretion in human intestinal epithelium, especially the underlying mechanism and therapeutic application. Short-circuit current analysis of human intestinal epithelial (T84) cell monolayers revealed that ISLQ dose-dependently inhibited cAMP-activated Cl(-) secretion with an IC(50) of approximately 20 ┬ÁM. ISLQ had no effect on either basal short-circuit current or Ca(2+)-activated Cl(-) secretion. Apical Cl(-) current analysis of T84 cell monolayers indicated that ISLQ blocked mainly the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) Cl(-) channels, but not other unidentified cAMP-dependent Cl(-) channels. ISLQ did not affect intracellular cAMP levels or cell viability. ISLQ completely abolished the cholera toxin-induced transepithelial Cl(-) secretion in T84 cells and reduced the cholera toxin-induced intestinal fluid secretion in mouse closed loop models by 90%. Similarly, ISLQ completely inhibited the cAMP-activated apical Cl(-) current across monolayers of Madin-Darby Canine Kidney (MDCK) cells and retarded cyst growth in MDCK cyst models by 90%. This study reveals a novel action of ISLQ as a potent CFTR inhibitor with therapeutic potential for treatment of cholera and polycystic kidney disease.

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