PloS one

Glycyrol suppresses collagen-induced arthritis by regulating autoimmune and inflammatory responses.

PMID 25036817


Glycyrol is a natural compound extracted from Glycyrrhiza uralensis, first reported by us to be a new immunosuppressant. Here, we demonstrate its beneficial effect in collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) in mice, a model for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in man, and we document the underlying mechanisms. Peroral administration of glycyrol significantly reduced clinical scores, alleviated cartilage and bone erosion and reduced levels of serum inflammatory cytokines. Glycyrol also decreased delayed-type hypersensitivity, improved carbon clearance and reduced acetic acid-induced capillary permeability. Furthermore, glycyrol decreased NF-κB and NFAT transcriptional activities and inhibited IL-2 expression. The therapeutic effect of glycyrol was associated with down-regulation of both autoimmune and inflammatory reactions. In addition, we demonstrated that glycyrol has minimal acute toxicity in mice. Therefore, we propose that glycyrol may hold promise for future treatment of RA.