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Research Article

Deciphering Multi-target Pharmacological Mechanism of <i>Cucurbita pepo</i> Seeds against Kidney Stones: Network Pharmacology and Molecular Docking Approach

[ Vol. 30 , Issue. 4 ]


Aqsa Shahzadi, Usman Ali Ashfaq*, Mohsin Khurshid*, Muhammad Atif Nisar, Asad Syed and Ali H. Bahkali   Pages 295 - 309 ( 15 )


Background: Urolithiasis is a prevalent condition with significant morbidity and economic implications. The economic burden associated with urolithiasis primarily stems from medical expenses. Previous literature suggests that herbal plants, including Cucurbita pepo, have lithotriptic capabilities. C. pepo is an annual, herbaceous, widely grown, and monoecious vegetative plant known for its antioxidants, fibers, and fatty acids. Recent studies on C. pepo seeds have shown therapeutic potential in reducing bladder stones and urodynamic illnesses, like kidney stones. However, the precise molecular and pharmacological mechanisms are unclear.

Objective: In this research, we employed network pharmacology and molecular docking to examine the active compounds and biological mechanisms of Cucurbita pepo against kidney stones.

Methods: Active constituents were obtained from previous studies and the IMPPAT database, with their targets predicted using Swiss target prediction. Kidney stone-associated genes were collected from DisGeNET and GeneCards. The active constituent-target-pathway network was constructed using Cytoscape, and the target protein-protein interaction network was generated using the STRING database. Gene enrichment analysis of C. pepo core targets was conducted using DAVID. Molecular docking was performed to identify potential kidney stone-fighting agents.

Results: The findings revealed that Cucurbita pepo contains 18 active components and has 192 potential gene targets, including AR, EGFR, ESR1, AKT1, MAPK3, SRC, and MTOR. Network analysis demonstrated that C. pepo seeds may prevent kidney stones by influencing disease-related signaling pathways. Molecular docking indicated that key kidney stone targets (mTOR, EGFR, AR, and ESR1) effectively bind with active constituents of C. pepo.

Conclusion: These findings provide insight into the anti-kidney stone effects of Cucurbita pepo at a molecular level. In conclusion, this study contributes to understanding the potential of Cucurbita pepo in combating kidney stones and lays the foundation for further research.


Cucurbita pepo, lithotriptic, urolithiasis, herbal medicine, signaling pathways, gene targets.


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