Current Issues of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences

Glycyrrhetinic acid and its derivatives in infectious diseases

Curr Issues Pharm Med Sci., Vol. 29, No. 3, 118-123

Dominik Langer1, Beata Czarczynska-Goslinska2, Tomasz Goslinski1*

Department of Chemical Technology of Drugs, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Grunwaldzka 6, 60-780 Poznan, Poland
2 Department of Pharmaceutical Technology, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Grunwaldzka 6, 60-780 Poznan, Poland1

DOI: 10.1515/cipms-2016-0024

Abstract

Introduction. Licorice or liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra, Leguminosae) is a perennial plant naturally occurring or cultivated in Europe and Asia. It was appreciated by many ancient cultures, and was employed within Arabic medicine and (beginning in the Middle Ages) in Europe folk medicine as a remedy for many diseases. Currently, the sweet flavoured root of this plant – Radix Glycyrrhizae (Liquirtiae), is widely taken for the treating of various upper respiratory tract diseases, as well as for gastric ulcer disease. It is also utilized as a sweetening and flavouring agent in the food, tobacco and pharmacy industries. The main active ingredient of liquorice is the triterpenoid saponin, glycyrrhizin, which is a mixture of calcium, magnesium and potassium salts of glycyrrhizic acid (GA). Glycyrrhizic acid is composed of an aglycone, that is 18β-glycyrrhetinic acid (GE), and a D-glucuronic acid dimer. The aim of this review is to discuss some aspects of the activity of glycyrrhetinic acid and its derivatives in infectious diseases.
State of knowledge. The pentacyclic system of glycyrrhetinic acid consists of condensed six-membered rings with a hydroxyl group at C-3, a carboxyl moiety at C-30 and a ketone functional group at C-11. Considering the presence of the above mentioned functional groups, many structural transformations have been proposed, including those by way of esterification, alkylation and reduction reactions. The introduction of various chemical residues into its structure, as well as the modification of the glycyrrhetinic acid in its pentacyclic triterpene skeleton, has led to the generation of compounds with many valuable antimicrobial, anti-parasitic, antiviral properties and modified lipophilic parameters.
Summary. In summary, glycyrrhetinic acid derivatives appear to have promise as active pharmaceutical ingredients that contain a wide range of biological and pharmacological properties.

Keywords

glycyrrhetinic acid, licorice, infectious diseases.

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