Jun Li, Qin Tao, Yang Xie, Peng Wang, Ruiri Jin, Xia Huang, Youxiang Chen* and Chunyan Zeng* Pages 2721 - 2737 ( 17 )
Background: Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic, nonspecific, inflammatory disease of the intestine with an unknown cause. Thalidomide (THA) has been shown to be an effective drug for the treatment of UC. However, the molecular targets and mechanism of action of THA for the treatment of UC are not yet clear.
Objectives: Combining network pharmacology with in vitro experiments, this study aimed to investigate the potential targets and molecular mechanisms of THA for the treatment of UC.
Methods: Firstly, relevant targets of THA against UC were obtained from public databases. Then, the top 10 hub targets and key molecular mechanisms of THA for UC were screened based on the network pharmacology approach and bioinformatics method. Finally, an in vitro cellular inflammation model was constructed using lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induced intestinal epithelial cells (NCM460) to validate the top 10 hub targets and key signaling pathways.
Results: A total of 121 relevant targets of THA against UC were obtained, of which the top 10 hub targets were SRC, LCK, MAPK1, HSP90AA1, EGFR, HRAS, JAK2, RAC1, STAT1, and MAP2K1. The PI3K-Akt pathway was significantly associated with THA treatment of UC. In vitro experiments revealed that THA treatment reversed the expression of HSP90AA1, EGFR, STAT1, and JAK2 differential genes. THA was able to up- regulate the mRNA expression of pro-inflammatory factor IL-10 and decrease the mRNA levels of anti-inflammatory factors IL-6, IL-1β, and TNF-α. Furthermore, THA also exerted anti-inflammatory effects by inhibiting the activation of the PI3K/Akt pathway.
Conclusion: THA may play a therapeutic role in UC by inhibiting the PI3K-Akt pathway. HSP90AA1, EGFR, STAT1, and JAK2 may be the most relevant potential therapeutic targets for THA in the treatment of UC.
Thalidomide, ulcerative colitis, treatments, network pharmacology, molecular docking, PI3K/AKT signaling pathway.