Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a global nephrotic syndrome characterized by chronic inflammation, oxidative stress and fibrosis in the kidney. Isoliquiritigenin (ISL), a flavonoid from licorice, has historically been reported to inhibit innate immune responses to inflammation and fibrosis in vivo. However, the effect of ISL on CKD progression is largely unknown.
In this study, we employed the inflammatory and fibrotic models of LPS/TGF-β-induced bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDM) in vitro and unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) model in vivo to explore the potential effects and mechanism of ISL on renal inflammation and fibrosis.
Our results manifest that ISL improved UUO-induced renal dysfunction and reduced tubular damage with a significantly downregulated mRNA expression and secretion of IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α and MCP-1 in vitro and in vivo. It is worth noting that ISL can strongly inhibit the mRNA and protein expression of Mincle (macrophage-induced c-type lectin) in BMDM and UUO. ISL inhibited the phosphorylation of Syk and NF-kappa B and simultaneously reduced the expression of α-SMA and Col III in vivo and in vitro. More interestingly, when dealing with TDB, a ligand of Mincle, it revealed significant reversal of protein expression levels as that observed with ISL. The expressions of IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, iNOS, p-Syk, p-NF-kappa B, α-SMA and FN in BMDM inflammatory model were significantly upregulated with TDB treatment. This confirms that ISL inhibits inflammation and fibrosis of macrophage by suppressing Mincle/Syk/NF-kappa B signaling pathway.