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In Frontiers in pharmacology

Alzheimer's disease (AD) has become a worldwide disease that is harmful to human health and brings a heavy economic burden to healthcare system. Xiao-Xu-Ming Decoction (XXMD) has been widely used to treat stroke and other neurological diseases for more than 1000 years in China. However, the synergistic mechanism of the constituents in XXMD for the potential treatment of AD is still unclear. Therefore, the present study aimed to predict the potential targets and uncover the material basis of XXMD for the potential treatment of AD. A network pharmacology-based method, which combined data collection, drug-likeness filtering and absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion and toxicity (ADME/T) properties filtering, target prediction and network analysis, was used to decipher the effect and potential targets of XXMD for the treatment of AD. Then, the acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitory assay was used to screen the potential active constituents in XXMD for the treatment of AD, and the molecular docking was furtherly used to identify the binding ability of active constituents with AD-related target of AChE. Finally, three in vitro cell models were applied to evaluate the neuroprotective effects of potential lead compounds in XXMD. Through the China Natural Products Database, Traditional Chinese Medicine Systems Pharmacology (TCMSP) Database, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)-Database @Taiwan and literature, a total of 1481 compounds in XXMD were finally collected. After ADME/T properties filtering, 908 compounds were used for the further study. Based on the prediction data, the constituents in XXMD formula could interact with 41 AD-related targets. Among them, cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), estrogen receptor α (ERα) and AChE were the major targets. The constituents in XXMD were found to have the potential to treat AD through multiple AD-related targets. 62 constituents in it were found to interact with more than or equal to 10 AD-related targets. The prediction results were further validated by in vitro biology experiment, resulting in several potential anti-AD multitarget-directed ligands (MTDLs), including two AChE inhibitors with the IC50 values ranging from 4.83 to 10.22 μM. Moreover, fanchinoline was furtherly found to prevent SH-SY5Y cells from the cytotoxicities induced by sodium nitroprusside, sodium dithionate and potassium chloride. In conclusion, XXMD was found to have the potential to treat AD by targeting multiple AD-related targets and canonical pathways. Fangchinoline and dauricine might be the potential lead compounds in XXMD for the treatment of AD.

Shen Yanjia, Zhang Baoyue, Pang Xiaocong, Yang Ran, Chen Miao, Zhao Jiaying, Wang Jinhua, Wang Zhe, Yu Ziru, Wang Yuehua, Li Li, Liu Ailin, Du Guanhua


“Alzheimers disease”, Xiao-Xu-Ming decoction, machine learning, molecular docking, network pharmacology