Original Article

The synergistic anti-asthmatic effects of glycyrrhizin and salbutamol

Authors: Yang Yang, Qian Shi, Ze Liu, Ruo-jie Li, Peng-wei Pan, Yuan-yuan Hou, Wan-ge Lu, Gang Bai
DOI: 10.1038/aps.2009.207


Aim: To investigate the efficacy of glycyrrhizin (GL) combined with salbutamol (SA) as an anti-asthma therapy.
Methods: Rat lung beta2-adrenergic receptor (β2-AR) mRNA level was measured by real-time RT PCR. Intracellular cAMP accumulation was evaluated with a reporter gene assay. An in vitro acetylcholine-induced guinea pig tracheal strip contraction model was used to test the relaxing effects of GL and SA. The anti-inflammatory effects of GL and SA were tested using tumor necrosis factor-α-induced NF-κB transcriptional activation reporter assay, I-κB Western blotting and interleukin-8 ELISA. An in vivo guinea pig asthma model was used to prove further the synergistic effect of GL and SA.
Results: GL (0.3 μmol/L) increased mRNA levels of β2-AR in vivo and the accumulation of cAMP in vitro. The combination of GL and SA also resulted in significant complementary anti-inflammatory effects via inhibition of NF-κB activation, degradation of I-κB and production of interleukin-8. A significant synergistic effect of the combination was detected both in vitro and in vivo in a guinea pig mode.
Conclusion: The results demonstrate that GL and SA have synergistic anti-asthmatic effects and offer the possibility of a therapeutic application of GL in combination with β2-AR agonists in the treatment of asthma.

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