Glycyrrhizic acid restrains airway inflammation and remodeling in asthma via the TGF‑β1/Smad signaling pathway
Affiliations: College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing 100029, P.R. China
- Published online on: March 3, 2021 https://doi.org/10.3892/etm.2021.9892
Copyright: © Yao
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The anti‑inflammatory effects of glycyrrhizic acid (GA) against asthma have previously been reported; however, the underlying molecular mechanism of GA in asthma has not yet been elucidated. Thus, the present study aimed to determine the function and potential molecular mechanism of GA for modulating the transforming growth factor‑β1 (TGF‑β1)/Smad signaling pathway in asthma‑associated airway inflammation and remodeling. In order to study the mechanism of GA on airway inflammation and airway remodeling in asthmatic mice, a mouse model of chronic asthma was constructed. A total of 50 female mice were randomly assigned into five groups (10 mice/group), as follows: Blank group, asthma group, GA group, dexamethasone group and GA + TGF‑β1 group. Hematoxylin and eosin, and Masson staining were performed to assess the airway inflammation and remodeling in mice with ovalbumin (OVA)‑induced asthma. The serum levels of interleukin (IL)‑4, IL‑5, IL‑13 and IL‑17 in mice were assessed via the enzyme‑linked immunosorbent assay. Reverse transcription‑quantitative PCR and western blot analyses were performed to detect the levels of TGF‑β1 and Smads in lung tissues of each group of mice. The results demonstrated that GA and dexamethasone treatment mitigated airway inflammation, inflammatory cell infiltration and airway remolding, with a concomitant decrease in the expression levels of IL‑4, IL‑5, IL‑13 and IL‑17, in mice with OVA‑induced asthma. In addition, the levels of TGF‑β1 and Smad2 notably decreased, while Smad7 expression increased in the GA and dexamethasone groups compared with the asthma group. Furthermore, histopathological morphometry exhibited significantly elevated inflammatory cell infiltration, airway wall and smooth muscle, collagen secretion and inflammatory cytokines in the serum of mice in the GA + TGF‑β1 group compared with the GA group. Taken together, the results of the present study suggest that GA ameliorates airway inflammation and remodeling via the TGF‑β1/Smad signaling pathway in mice with asthma.