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Isoliquiritigenin from licorice root suppressed neovascularisation in experimental ocular angiogenesis models
  1. Vishal Jhanji1,
  2. Huanming Liu1,
  3. Kasin Law1,
  4. Vincent Yau-Wing Lee1,
  5. Shao-Fen Huang2,
  6. Chi-Pui Pang1,
  7. Gary Hin-Fai Yam1
  1. 1Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  2. 2Joint Shantou International Eye Centre, Shantou, PR China
  1. Correspondence to Gary Hin-Fai Yam, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong; gary_yam{at}


Aim To explore the antiangiogenic property of isoliquiritigenin (ISL) on in vivo and in vitro models.

Design Laboratory investigation.

Methods The effect of ISL on angiogenesis development was investigated using ex ovo chick chorioallantoic membrane model. Its effect on pathological angiogenesis was examined by (1) silver nitrate cauterisation-induced corneal neovascularisation in BALB/c mice, followed by topical ISL (0.2–50 μM) and CD31 immunofluorescence of corneal blood vessels; (2) argon laser photocoagulation-induced choroidal neovascularisation in C57BL/6 mice, followed by intravitreal ISL (10–200 μM) and fundus fluorescein angiography and immunofluorescence with Griffonia simplicifolia isolectin-B4 (GSA I-B4); and (3) oxygen-induced retinopathy in C57BL/6J mice pups, followed by intravitreal ISL (1–100 μM) and GSA I-B4 immunofluorescence. The vascular area was quantified and analysed by one-way analysis of variance and Student t test. Expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and pigment-epithelium-derived factor in human umbilical vein endothelial cells was analysed by western blotting.

Results Ex ovo chick chorioallantoic membrane assay showed that ISL dose-dependently suppressed VEGF-induced vessel growth. In vivo experiments illustrated that topical ISL alleviated corneal neovascularisation (IC50=7.14 μM, day 7) and intravitreal ISL reduced vessel leakage and GSA I-B4-positive vascular area in choroidal and retinal neovascularisation. ISL was found to dose-dependently suppress VEGF and induce pigment epithelium derived factor expression in cultured endothelial cells.

Conclusion Using various experimental models of ocular neovascularisation, the authors have demonstrated that ISL from licorice extract has an antiangiogenic effect. The authors' findings suggest that ISL may be a potential antiangiogenic molecule in the development of therapy for neovascularisation diseases.

  • Angiogenesis
  • isoliquiritigenin
  • corneal neovascularisation
  • choroidal neovascularisation
  • oxygen-induced retinopathy

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  • Presented in part at the Asia Cornea Society Meeting held in Kyoto in December 2010.

  • Funding This work was supported by a block grant from the University Grants Committee, Hong Kong.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.