Network Pharmacology-based Investigation of the Underlying Mechanism of Panax Notoginseng Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy

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Author(s): Chunli Piao*, Zheyu Sun, De Jin, Han Wang, Xuemin Wu, Naiwen Zhang, Fengmei Lian, Xiaolin Tong.

Journal Name: Combinatorial Chemistry & High Throughput Screening
Accelerated Technologies for Biotechnology, Bioassays, Medicinal Chemistry and Natural Products Research

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Background: Panax notoginseng, a Chinese herbal medicine, has been widely used to treat vascular diseases. Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is one of the complications of diabetic microangiopathy. According to recent studies, the application of Panax notoginseng extract and related Chinese patent medicine preparations can significantly improve DR. However, the pharmacological mechanisms remain unclear. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to decipher the potential mechanism of Panax notoginseng treatment of DR using network pharmacology.

Methods: We evaluated and screened the active compounds of Panax notoginseng using the Traditional Chinese Medicine Systems Pharmacology database and collected potential targets of the compounds by target fishing. A multi-source database was also used to organize targets of DR. A potential target as a treatment of DR with Panax notoginseng was then obtained by matching the compound targets with the DR targets. Using protein-protein interaction networks and topological analysis, interactions between potential targets were identified. In addition, we also performed gene ontology-biological process and pathway enrichment analysis using the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes.

Results: Eight active ingredients of Panax notoginseng and 31 potential targets for the treatment of DR were identified. The screening and enrichment analysis revealed that the treatment of DR using Panax notoginseng primarily involved 28 biological processes and 10 related pathways. Further analyses indicated that angiogenesis, inflammatory reactions, and apoptosis may be the main processes involved in the treatment of DR with Panax notoginseng. In addition, we determined that the mechanism of intervention of Panax notoginseng in treating DR may involve five core targets, VEGFA, MMP-9, MMP-2, FGF2, and COX-2.

Conclusion: Panax notoginseng may treat diabetic retinopathy through the mechanism of network pharmacological analysis. The underlying molecular mechanisms were closely related to the intervention of angiogenesis, inflammation, and apoptosis with VEGFA, MMP-9, MMP-2, FGF2, and COX-2 being possible targets.

Keywords: panax notoginseng, molecular mechanism, network pharmacology, diabetic retinopathy, treatment, vascular disease.

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(E-pub Ahead of Print)
DOI: 10.2174/1386207323666200305093709
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