J Tradit Chin Med. 2023 Oct;43(6):1219-1226. doi: 10.19852/j.cnki.jtcm.20230915.001.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the bioactive compounds of Chaihu (Radix Bupleuri Chinensis) (RB) on glaucomatous optic atrophy (GOA), and to study the pharmacological mechanism.
METHODS: We collected information on the bioactive compounds of RB from the Traditional Chinese Medicine Systems Pharmacology Database and Analysis Platform (TCMSP). Targets related to bioactive compounds and GOA were also obtained. Gene Ontology (GO), Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway and network analyses were performed to investigate the potential mechanism of RB against GOA. Subsequently, the main bioactive compounds of RB and targets of GOA were docked by Autodock software. Moreover, a GOA model of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) induced by cobalt chloride was established to verify the effect of RB on GOA.
RESULTS: There were 17 main bioactive compounds and 46 key targets were screened as potential players in GOA. The compound-target network mainly contained 17 compounds and 46 corresponding targets, and the key targets consisted of interleukin-6 (IL-6), hypoxia inducible factor-1α (HIF1A), Caspase-3, estrogen receptor alpha (ESR1), MYC proto-oncogene (MYC), and vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA). Forty-nine significantly enriched GO terms, and 134 KEGG signaling pathways were identified (P < 0.05), including HIF-1, tumor necrosis factor, VEGF, prolaction, and other signaling pathways. Molecular docking results showed that the main bioactive compounds of RB exhibited the strongest binding activity with IL-6. Furthermore, experimental validation showed that the RB extract inhibited the activity and promoted apoptosis of RGCs in a dose-dependent manner. The RB extract also suppressed the expression of Bax, Caspase-3, and Caspase-9 and regulated malonaldehyde, superoxide dismutase, and glutathione peroxide by inhibiting the IL-6/HIF-1α signaling pathway.
CONCLUSIONS: The present study provided insights into the mechanism of RB on GOA. RB mainly reverses GOA by inhibiting the IL-6/HIF-1α signaling pathway.