2007 Volume 30 Issue 12 Pages 2290-2293
Licochalcones have a variety of biological properties including anti-tumor, anti-parasitic and anti-bacterial activities. Recently, a new retrochalcone (licochalcone E, Lico-E) was isolated from the roots of Glycyrrhiza inflata (Chem. Pharm. Bull., 53, 2005, Yoon et al.) by cytotoxicity-guided fractionation. This study examined whether or not Lico-E-induced endothelial cell death occurs through apoptosis, and investigated molecular mechanisms involved in this process. Lico-E was found to suppress ECV304 cell growth and induce apoptosis. The induction of apoptosis by Lico-E was confirmed by the ladder-patterned DNA fragmentation, the presence of cleaved and condensed nuclear chromatin and the increased number of annexin V-positive cells. Lico-E could effectively inhibit the constitutive NF-κB activation, as revealed by the electrophoretic mobility shift assay and NF-κB-dependent luciferase reporter study. In addition, the Lico-E treatment caused a change in the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio that favored apoptosis. These results suggest that Lico-E induces endothelial cell apoptosis by modulating NF-κB and the Bcl-2 family.