Mucus overproduction is a significant component of the pathophysiology of obstructive lung diseases. Currently, there are only a few medications available that inhibit mucus production. Previous studies showed that glycyrrhizin, a triterpenoid in Glycyrrhiza uralensis inhibits mucin 5AC (MUC5AC) mRNA and protein expression. Other potential mucus production inhibitory compounds contained within in G.-uralensis have not been fully investigated. The aim of the present study was to determine if the G.-uralensis flavonoid 7,4′-dihydroxyflavone (7,4′-DHF) inhibits MUC5AC gene expression, mucus production, and secretion, and if so, to elucidate the mechanism of this inhibition. 7,4′-Dihydroxyflavone significantly decreased phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate-stimulated NCI-H292 human airway epithelial cell MUC5AC gene expression and mucus production, at a 28-fold lower concentration than glycyrrhizin (The half maximal inhibitory concentration IC50 value of 1.4-μM vs 38-μM, respectively); 7,4′-DHF also inhibited MUC5AC mucus secretion. Inhibition was associated with the suppression of nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB), signal transducer and activator of transcription 6 (STAT6) activation, and enhanced histone deacetylase 2 (HDAC2) expression. In a murine model of asthma, 7,4′-DHF-treated mice exhibited a marked reduction in MUC5AC secretion in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid compared with control mice. These findings, together with previous findings linking NF-κB, STAT6, and HDAC2 modulation to the control of MUC5AC expression, demonstrate that 7,4′-DHF is a newly identified component of G.-uralensis that regulates MUC5AC expression and secretion via regulation of NF-κB, STAT6, and HDAC2.
- Glycyrrhiza uralensis
- bronchoalveolar lavage