Research Paper Volume 13, Issue 6 pp 8895—8915

Licochalcone A improves the cognitive ability of mice by regulating T- and B-cell proliferation

Yating Wu1, , Jianbo Zhu1, , Haifeng Liu3, , Hailiang Liu1,2, ,

  • 1 Key Laboratory of Xinjiang Phytomedicine Resource and Utilization of Ministry of Education, College of Life Sciences, Shihezi University, Shihezi 832003, China
  • 2 Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Shanghai East Hospital, Tongji University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200123, China
  • 3 China Colored-Cotton (Group) Co., Ltd., Urumqi 830016, Xinjiang, China

Received: October 12, 2020       Accepted: February 8, 2021       Published: March 10, 2021
How to Cite

Copyright: © 2021 Wu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Licochalcone A (LA), a flavonoid found in licorice, has anticancer, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective properties. Here, we explored the effect of injecting LA into the tail vein of middle-aged C57BL/6 mice on their cognitive ability as measured by the Morris water maze (MWM) test and cerebral blood flow (CBF). The related mechanisms were assessed via RNA-seq, and T (CD3e+) and B (CD45R/B220+) cells in the spleen and whole blood were quantified via flow cytometry. LA improved the cognitive ability, according to the MWM test results, and upregulated the CBF level of treated mice. The RNA-seq results indicate that LA affected the interleukin (IL)-17 signaling pathway, which is related to T- and B-cell proliferation, and the flow cytometry data suggest that LA promoted T- and B-cell proliferation in the spleen and whole blood. We also performed immune reconstruction via a tail vein injection of lymphocytes into B-NDG (NOD-PrkdcscidIl2rgtm1/Bcge) mice before treating them with LA. We tested cognitive ability by subjecting these animals to new object recognition tests and quantified the splenic and whole blood T and B cells. Cognitive ability improved after immune reconstruction and LA treatment, and LA promoted T- and B-cell proliferation in the spleen and whole blood. This study demonstrates that LA, by activating the IL-17 signaling pathway, promotes T- and B-cell proliferation in the spleen and whole blood of mice and improves cognitive ability. Thus, LA may have immune-modulating therapeutic potential for improving cognition.


LA: licochalcone A; IL-17: interleukin; MWM: morris water maze; CBF: cerebral blood flow; T cells: CD3e+; B cells: CD45R/B220+; NK cell: natural killer (CD49b) cells; effector T cells: CD44+; effector B cells: CD27+; CNS: central nervous system; RNA-Seq: RNA sequencing; DEGs: differentially expressed genes; BND-G: mice NOD-PrkdcscidIl2rgtm1/Bcge mice; Ctrl: control.