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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Potentiation of hydrocortisone activity in skin by glycyrrhetinic acid.

The enzyme 11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase ( 11 beta-OHSD), which catalyses the conversion of cortisol to the inactive steroid cortisone in man (and corticosterone to 11-dehydrocorticosterone in rodents), was demonstrated by immunohistochemistry in skin biopsy samples from healthy volunteers and from patients with psoriasis and eczema. In-vitro studies confirmed the presence of the enzyme in skin from nude mice and showed that it is inhibited by glycyrrhetinic acid, the major active component of liquorice. By means of the skin vasoconstrictor assay, glycyrrhetinic acid was shown to potentiate the action of hydrocortisone. This work suggests a novel means of targeting glucocorticoid therapy.[1]


  1. Potentiation of hydrocortisone activity in skin by glycyrrhetinic acid. Teelucksingh, S., Mackie, A.D., Burt, D., McIntyre, M.A., Brett, L., Edwards, C.R. Lancet (1990) [Pubmed]
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