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Licochalcone A Prevents the Loss of Dopaminergic Neurons by Inhibiting Microglial Activation in Lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-Induced Parkinson’s Disease Models

College of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine, Jilin University, Changchun 130062, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(10), 2043;
Received: 7 August 2017 / Revised: 14 September 2017 / Accepted: 19 September 2017 / Published: 22 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Anti-Inflammatory Agents)
PDF [7048 KB, uploaded 25 September 2017]


The neuroprotective effects of Licochalcone A (Lico.A), a flavonoid isolated from the herb licorice, in Parkinson’s disease (PD) have not been elucidated. The prominent pathological feature of PD is the loss of dopaminergic neurons. The crucial role of neuroinflammation induced by activated microglia in dopaminergic neurodegeneration has been validated. In this study, we explore the therapeutic effects of Lico.A in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced PD models in vivo and in vitro. We find that Lico.A significantly inhibits LPS-stimulated production of pro-inflammatory mediators and microglial activation by blocking the phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK1/2) and nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) p65 in BV-2 cells. In addition, through cultured primary mesencephalic neuron-glia cell experiments, we illustrate that Lico.A attenuates the decrease in [3H] dopamine (DA) uptake and the loss of tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive (TH-ir) neurons in LPS-induced PD models in vitro. Furthermore, LPS intoxication in rats results in microglial activation, dopaminergic neurodegeneration and significant behavioral deficits in vivo. Lico.A treatment prevents microglial activation and reduction of dopaminergic neuron and ameliorates PD-like behavioral impairments. Thus, these results demonstrate for the first time that the neuroprotective effects of Lico.A are associated with microglia and anti-inflammatory effects in PD models. View Full-Text
Keywords: Licochalcone A; microglia; Parkinson’s disease; MAPK; NF-κB Licochalcone A; microglia; Parkinson’s disease; MAPK; NF-κB

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Huang, B.; Liu, J.; Ju, C.; Yang, D.; Chen, G.; Xu, S.; Zeng, Y.; Yan, X.; Wang, W.; Liu, D.; Fu, S. Licochalcone A Prevents the Loss of Dopaminergic Neurons by Inhibiting Microglial Activation in Lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-Induced Parkinson’s Disease Models. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18, 2043.

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