Medicine (Baltimore). 2023 Dec 1;102(48):e36477. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000036477.
BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to investigate the mechanism of sanguinarine (SAN) against nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) by means of network pharmacology, molecular docking technique, and experimental verification.
METHODS: The SAN action targets were predicted using the Swiss Target Prediction database, the related NPC targets were determined using the GEO database, and the intersection of drug and disease pathway targets were considered to be the potential targets of SAN against NPC. The target-protein interaction network map was constructed using the STRING database, and the core target genes of SAN against NPC were obtained via topological network analysis. “R” language gene ontology (GO) function and Kyoto encyclopedia of genes and genome (KEGG) pathway enrichment analyses were used to dock the core target genes with SAN with the help of AutodockVina. Cell proliferation was detected using MTT and xCELLigence real-time cell analysis. Apoptosis was identified via Hoechst 33342 staining, JC-1 mitochondrial membrane staining, and annexin V-FITC/PI double fluorescence staining, while protein expression was quantified using western blotting.
RESULTS: A total of 95 SAN against NPC targets were obtained using target intersection, and 8 core targets were obtained by topological analysis and included EGFR, TP53, F2, FN1, PLAU, MMP9, SERPINE1, and CDK1. Gene ontology enrichment analysis identified 530 items, and 42 items were obtained by Kyoto encyclopedia of genes and genome pathway enrichment analysis and were mainly related to the PI3K/AKT, MAPK, and p53 signaling pathways. Molecular docking results showed that SAN had good binding activity to the core target. SAN inhibited the proliferation of NPC cells, induced apoptosis, reduced the expression levels of survivin and Bcl2, and increased the expression levels of Bax and cleaved caspase-8. It also decreased the expression levels of the key proteins p-c-Raf, p-MEK, and p-ERK1/2 in the MAPK/ERK signaling pathway in NPC cells.
CONCLUSION: SAN inhibits the proliferation and induces the apoptosis of NPC cells through the MAPK/ERK signaling pathway.