Korean J Physiol Pharmacol.  2018 Jul;22(4):369-377. 10.4196/kjpp.2018.22.4.369.

Isoliquiritigenin attenuates spinal tuberculosis through inhibiting immune response in a New Zealand white rabbit model

  • 1Record Room, Jinan Second People's Hospital, Jinan 250011, Shandong, China.
  • 2Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Jinan Second People's Hospital, Jinan 250011, Shandong, China.
  • 3Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Jinan Second People's Hospital, Jinan 250011, Shandong, China.
  • 4Department of Orthopedics, Shandong Chest Hospital, Jinan 250101, Shandong, China. 13156120768@163.com


Spinal tuberculosis (ST) is the tuberculosis caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infections in spinal curds. Isoliquiritigenin 4,2′,4′-trihydroxychalcone, ISL) is an anti-inflammatory flavonoid derived from licorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis), a Chinese traditional medicine. In this study, we evaluated the potential of ISL in treating ST in New Zealand white rabbit models. In the model, rabbits (n=40) were infected with Mtb strain H37Rv or not in their 6th lumbar vertebral bodies. Since the day of infection, rabbits were treated with 20 mg/kg and 100 mg/kg of ISL respectively. After 10 weeks of treatments, the adjacent vertebral bone tissues of rabbits were analyzed through Hematoxylin-Eosin staining. The relative expression of Monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1/CCL2), transcription factor κB (NF-κB) p65 in lymphocytes were verified through reverse transcription quantitative real-time PCR (RT-qPCR), western blotting and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA). The serum level of interleukin (IL)-2, IL-4, IL-10 and interferon γ (IFN-γ) were evaluated through ELISA. The effects of ISL on the phosphorylation of IκBα, IKKα/β and p65 in NF-κB signaling pathways were assessed through western blotting. In the results, ISL has been shown to effectively attenuate the granulation inside adjacent vertebral tissues. The relative level of MCP-1, p65 and IL-4 and IL-10 were retrieved. NF-κB signaling was inhibited, in which the phosphorylation of p65, IκBα and IKKα/β were suppressed whereas the level of IκBα were elevated. In conclusion, ISL might be an effective drug that inhibited the formation of granulomas through downregulating MCP-1, NF-κB, IL-4 and IL-10 in treating ST.


Granuloma; Inflammatory cytokines; MCP-1; NF-κB; Spinal tuberculosis
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