Biotechnology and Bioprocess Engineering 2022; 27(2): 163-170  
Formulation of Glycyrrhizic Acid-based Nanocomplexes for Enhanced Anti-cancer and Anti-inflammatory Effects of Curcumin
Jihyeon Song, Jun Yeong Kim, Gayeon You, Yoon Young Kang, Jiwon Yang, and Hyejung Mok
Jihyeon Song, Jun Yeong Kim, Gayeon You, Yoon Young Kang, Jiwon Yang, Hyejung Mok*
Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Konkuk University, Seoul 05029, Korea
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Jihyeon Song and Jun Yeong Kim contributed equally to this work.
Received: July 22, 2021; Revised: September 7, 2021; Accepted: September 12, 2021; Published online: April 30, 2022.
© The Korean Society for Biotechnology and Bioengineering. All rights reserved.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
In this study, nanocomplexes composed of glycyrrhizic acid (GA) derived from the root of the licorice plant (Glycyrrhiza glabra) were formulated for the delivery of curcumin (CUR). Sonication of amphiphilic GA solution with hydrophobic CUR resulted in the production of nano sized complexes with a size of 164.8 ± 51.7 nm, which greatly enhanced the solubility of CUR in aqueous solution. A majority of the CURs were released from these GA/ CUR nanocomplexes within 12 h. GA/CUR nanocomplexes exhibited excellent intracellular uptake in human breast cancer cells (Michigan cancer foundation-7/multi-drug resistant cells), indicating enhanced anti-cancer effects compared to that of free CUR. In addition, GA/CUR nanocomplexes demonstrated high intracellular uptake into macrophages (RAW264.7 cells), consequently reducing the release of the pro-inflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-α. Furthermore, GA/CUR nanocomplexes successfully reduced the levels of serum pro-inflammatory cytokines and splenomegaly in a rheumatoid arthritis model.
Keywords: glycyrrhizic acid, curcumin, nanocomplexes, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory

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