Hepatoprotective Effects

Animal studies demonstrate that licorice protects hepatocytes by inhibiting experimentally induced lipid peroxidation (Rajesh & Latha 2004). In vitro studies have shown hepatoprotective effects of GL against aflatoxin B1 -induced cytotoxicity in human hepatoma cells (Chan et al 2003) and animal studies have shown GA exerts hepatoprotective effects against carbon tetrachloride-induced liver injury (Jeong et al 2002).

Several mechanisms appear to be responsible for the hepatoprotective effect. Glycyrrhizic acid enhances the detoxifying activity of the liver enzyme CYP1A1 and glutathione S-transferase and protects against oxidative stress, when induced by aflatoxin (Chan et al 2003).

Animal studies have found that GA inhibits expression of the liver enzyme CYP2E1. Once again, antioxidant mechanisms appear to be involved, as GA prevented glutathione depletion, an increase in ALT, AST activity, and hepatic lipid peroxidation Licorice 791

in a dose-dependent manner when carbon tetrachloride exposure occurred (Jeong et

al 2002). In addition ¡soliquiritigenin may stimulate the proliferation of human hepatocytes according to in vitro studies (De Bartolo et al 2005).

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