Licochalcone E (lico E) is a retrochalcone isolated from the root of Glycyrrhiza inflata. Retrochalcone compounds evidence a variety of pharmacological profiles, including anticancer, antiparasitic, antibacterial, antioxidative and superoxide-scavenging properties. In this study, we evaluated the biological effects of lico E on adipocyte differentiation in vitro and obesity-related diabetes in vivo. We employed 3T3-L1 preadipocyte and C3H10T1/2 stem cells for in vitro adipocyte differentiation study and diet-induced diabetic mice for in vivo study. The presence of lico E during adipogenesis induced adipocyte differentiation to a significant degree, particularly at the early induction stage. Licochalcone E evidenced weak, but significant, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) ligand-binding activity. Two weeks of lico E treatment lowered blood glucose levels and serum triglyceride levels in the diabetic mice. Additionally, treatment with lico E resulted in marked reductions in adipocyte size and increases in the mRNA expression levels of PPARγ in white adipose tissue (WAT). Licochalcone E was also shown to significantly stimulate Akt signaling in epididymal WAT. In conclusion, lico E increases the levels of PPARγ expression, at least in part, via the stimulation of Akt signals and functions as a PPARγ partial agonist, and this increased PPARγ expression enhances adipocyte differentiation and increases the population of small adipocytes, resulting in improvements in hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia under diabetic conditions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Molecular Biology
- Nutrition and Dietetics
- Clinical Biochemistry