Therapeutic targets and pharmacological mechanisms of Coptidis Rhizoma against ulcerative colitis: Findings of system pharmacology and bioinformatics analysis
Evidence of the advantages of Coptidis Rhizoma (CR) for the treatment of ulcerative colitis (UC) is accumulating. However, research revealing the targets and molecular mechanisms of CR against UC is scarce. In this research, a bioinformatics analysis was performed to carry out the physicochemical properties and biological activities of phytochemicals in CR and analyze the binding activities, targets, biological functions and mechanisms of CR against UC. This research shows that the CR’s key phytochemicals, which are named Coptisine, Berberrubine, Berlambine, Berberine, Epiberberine, Obacunone, Worenine, Quercetin, (R)-Canadine, Magnograndiolide, Palmatine and Moupinamide, have ideal physicochemical properties and bioactivity. A total of 1,904 potential phytochemical targets and 17,995 UC-related targets are identified, and we finally acquire 233 intersection targets between key phytochemicals and disease. A protein-protein interaction network of 233 common targets was constructed; and six hub targets were acquired with a degree greater than or equal to median, namely TP53, HSP90AA1, STAT3, ESR1, MYC, and RELA. The enrichment analysis suggested that the core targets may exert an impact on anti-inflammatory, immunoregulatory, anti-oxidant and anti-fibrosis functions mainly through the PI3K/ART signaling pathway, Th17 differentiation signaling pathway, inflammatory bowel disease signaling pathway, etcetera. Also, a molecular docking analysis shows that the key phytochemicals have strong affinity for binding to the core targets. Finally, the interaction network of CR, phytochemicals, targets, GO functions, KEGG pathways and UC is constructed. This study indicates that the key phytochemicals in CR have superior drug likeness and bioactivity, and the molecular mechanism of key phytochemicals against UC may be via the signaling pathway mentioned above. The potential and critical pharmacological mechanisms provide a direction for future research.