Glycyrrhizin (glycyrrhizic acid), a bioactive triterpenoid saponin constituent of Glycyrrhiza glabra, is a traditional medicine possessing a plethora of pharmacological anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and antiaging properties. It is a known pharmacological inhibitor of high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1), a ubiquitous protein with proinflammatory cytokine-like activity. HMGB1 has been implicated in an array of inflammatory diseases when released extracellularly, mainly by activating intracellular signaling upon binding to the receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) and toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4). HMGB1 neutralization strategies have demonstrated disease-modifying outcomes in several preclinical models of neurological disorders. Herein, we reveal the potential neuroprotective effects of glycyrrhizin against several neurological disorders. Emerging findings demonstrate the therapeutic potential of glycyrrhizin against several HMGB1-mediated pathological conditions including traumatic brain injury, neuroinflammation and associated conditions, epileptic seizures, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and multiple sclerosis. Glycyrrhizin's effects in neurological disorders are mainly attributed to the attenuation of neuronal damage by inhibiting HMGB1 expression and translocation as well as by downregulating the expression of inflammatory cytokines. A large number of preclinical findings supports the notion that glycyrrhizin might be a promising therapeutic alternative to overcome the shortcomings of the mainstream therapeutic strategies against neurological disorders, mainly by halting disease progression. However, future research is warranted for a deeper exploration of the precise underlying molecular mechanism as well as for clinical translation.
- HMGB1, pharmacological inhibitor
- neurological disorders