Systemic pharmacological verification of Baixianfeng decoction regulating TNF-PI3K-Akt-NF-kappa B pathway in treating rheumatoid arthritis


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Traditional Chinese medicine has a long history of treating complex diseases, especially for the conditioning of systemic diseases. It has been reported that Baixianfeng (BXF) decoction used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) may be due to its systemic regulatory effect, but the specific mechanism still remains to be elucidated. The research philosophy and methods of systemic pharmacology were used to explore the mechanism of BXF decoction in treating RA in this study. TCMSP database was used to search the ingredients of BXF decoction and screen the ADME parameters. The parameter index was set as OB >= 30%, DL >= 0.18, HL >= 4 h. The targets of the screened compounds were searched and predicted by TCMSP and Target-Prediction platforms. The disease targets of RA were obtained through the DisGeNET, OMIM, and PharmGkb databases. A series of network construction and analysis relied on Cytoscape 3.2.1 software, and the DAVID database was used for pathway enrichment. The adjuvant arthritis rat model was used for the verification of animal experiments to verify the predicted pathway results in terms of pathological phenotype, inflammatory factors, and pathway protein expression. The results showed that the related targets of 81 active ingredients in the drug crossed 56 targets of RA, and these common targets were enriched in 83 significant pathways, among which the TNF signaling pathway had research significance. Animal experiments have proved that BXF decoction was effective in treating adjuvant arthritis rats. The drug relieved the pathological phenotype of rats in dose-dependent. It reduced the serum content of TNF-alpha and IL-1 beta, and reduced the gene expression of TNF-alpha and IL-6 in spleen tissue. In the cartilage tissue protein of rats, it inhibited the degradation of collagen II protein. Further, BXF decoction reduced the activation of p-PI3K, p-Akt, and p-P65 protein, and decreased the overexpression of apoptotic proteins such as cleaved-caspase8 and cleaved-caspase3 in cartilage tissue. Meanwhile, it inhibited the protein expression of MMP9, TNF-alpha, IL-6, and IL-1 beta. In conclusion, this study successfully practiced the combination of systemic pharmacology and experimental verification, and clarified that BXF decoction inhibited the progression of adjuvant arthritis rats through the TNF-PI3K-Akt-NF-kappa B signal axis. It provides new evidence for the study of the mechanism of BXF decoction in treating RA.
BaiXianFeng decoction, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Systemic pharmacology, TNF-PI3K-Akt-NF-kappa B signal axis
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