The effect of glycyrrhizin on inflammatory mediators such as neutrophil functions including reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation was examined. Glycyrrhizin significantly decreased neutrophil-generated O2-, H2O2 and OH. in a dose-dependent manner. However, the drug did not reduce any of the ROS generated in a cell-free, xanthine-xanthine oxidase system. The drug did not affect neutrophil chemotaxis or phagocytosis, either. The present study indicates that glycyrrhizin is not an ROS scavenger but exerts an anti-inflammatory action by inhibiting the generation of ROS by neutrophils, the most potent inflammatory mediator at the site of the inflammation.
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