Glycyrrhizic acid inhibits high-mobility group box-1 and homocysteine-induced vascular dysfunction

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Gadanec, Laura Kate ORCID: 0000-0002-4801-8061, Andersson, Ulf ORCID: 0000-0003-0316-3860, Apostolopoulos, Vasso ORCID: 0000-0001-6788-2771 and Zulli, Anthony ORCID: 0000-0002-2660-078X (2023) Glycyrrhizic acid inhibits high-mobility group box-1 and homocysteine-induced vascular dysfunction. Nutrients, 15 (14). ISSN 2072-6643


Hyperhomocysteinemia (HHcy) worsens cardiovascular outcomes by impairing vascular function and promoting chronic inflammation via release of danger-associated molecular patterns, such as high-mobility group box-1 (HMGB-1). Elevated levels of HMGB-1 have recently been reported in patients with HHcy. Therefore, targeting HMGB-1 may be a potential therapy to improve HHcy-induced cardiovascular pathologies. This study aimed to further elucidate HMGB-1′s role during acute HHcy and HHcy-induced atherogenesis and to determine if inhibiting HMGB-1 with glycyrrhizic acid (Glyz) improved vascular function. Male New Zealand White rabbits (n = 25) were placed on either a standard control chow (CD; n = 15) or atherogenic diet (AD; n = 10) for 4 weeks. Rabbit serum and Krebs taken from organ bath studies were collected to quantify HMGB-1 levels. Isometric tension analysis was performed on abdominal aorta (AA) rings from CD and AD rabbits. Rings were incubated with homocysteine (Hcy) [3 mM] for 60 min to induce acute HHcy or rhHMGB-1 [100 nM]. Vascular function was assessed by relaxation to cumulative doses of acetylcholine. Markers of vascular dysfunction and inflammation were quantified in the endothelium, media, and adventitia of AA rings. HMGB-1 was significantly upregulated in serum (p < 0.0001) and Krebs (p < 0.0001) after Hcy exposure or an AD. Incubation with Hcy (p < 0.0001) or rhHMGB-1 (p < 0.0001) and an AD (p < 0.0001) significantly reduced relaxation to acetylcholine, which was markedly improved by Glyz. HMGB-1 expression was elevated (p < 0.0001) after Hcy exposure and AD (p < 0.0001) and was normalized after Glyz treatment. Moreover, markers of vascular function, cell stress and inflammation were also reduced after Glyz. These results demonstrate that HMGB-1 has a central role during HHcy-induced vascular dysfunction and inhibiting it with Glyz could be a potential treatment option for cardiovascular diseases.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.3390/nu15143186
Official URL
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 3202 Clinical sciences
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Health and Sport
Keywords cardiovascular function, chronic inflammation, vascular function, cardiovascular disease
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