A network pharmacology approach: Inhibition of the NF-κB signaling pathway contributes to the NASH preventative effect of an Oroxylum indicum seed extract in oleic acid-stimulated HepG2 cells and high-fat diet-fed rats.

Affiliation

Sun W(1), Liu P(2), Yang B(2), Wang M(2), Wang T(3), Sun W(4), Wang X(5), Zheng W(6), Song X(7), Li J(8).
Author information:
(1)Institute of Biomedical Research, School of Life Sciences, Shandong University of Technology, Zibo, Shandong 255000, China. Electronic address: [Email]
(2)Institute of Biomedical Research, School of Life Sciences, Shandong University of Technology, Zibo, Shandong 255000, China.
(3)College of Agriculture, Yangtze University, Jingzhou, Hubei 434000, China.
(4)School of Resources and Environmental Engineering, Shandong University of Technology, Zibo, Shandong 255000, China.
(5)College of Pharmaceutical Science, Zhejiang University of Technology, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310000, China.
(6)Institute of Biomass Resources, Taizhou University, Taizhou, Zhejiang 317700, China.
(7)Institute of Biomedical Research, School of Life Sciences, Shandong University of Technology, Zibo, Shandong 255000, China. Electronic address: [Email]
(8)College of Life Science, Yangtze University, Jingzhou, Hubei 434000, China. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The incidence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), especially nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), has significantly increased in recent years and has become an important public health issue. However, no U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved first-line drug is currently available for the treatment of NAFLD and NASH; therefore, research on new drugs is currently a hot topic. Oroxylum indicum (Linn.) Kurz is extensively distributed in South China and South Asia and has many biological activities. However, its effects on NAFLD or even NASH and the corresponding mechanisms are still not clear. PURPOSE: To investigate the effect and mechanism of O. indicum seed extract (OISE) on preventing anti-inflammatory action in the progression from simple nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) to NASH. METHODS: A network pharmacology method to construct ingredient-target networks and the protein-protein interaction (PPI) network of OISE in NASH were constructed for topological analyses and hub-target screening. Enrichment analyses were performed to identify the critical biological processes and signaling pathways. Simultaneously, in vitro and in vivo experiments investigated the effect and mechanism of OISE, baicalein, and chrysin on inflammation by biochemical indicator detection, luciferase reporters, pathological staining, and immunoblotting in oleic acid-stimulated HepG2 cells or in high-fat diet-fed rats. RESULTS: The network pharmacology showed that OISE prevented the development and progression of NAFL into NASH through various pathways and targets and that the nuclear factor NF-κB (NF-κB) pathway regulated by baicalein and chrysin played an important role in the treatment of NASH. In in vitro experiments, we further showed that OISE and its ingredients, namely, baicalein and chrysin, all improved the inflammatory status in oleic acid-stimulated HepG2 cells, inhibited the nuclear transcriptional activities of NF-κB, increased the IκB level, and decreased the phosphorylation level of NF-κB. Furthermore, in a high-fat diet-induced NASH model in rats, we also showed that OISE prevented the development and progression of NASH by inhibiting the nuclear transcriptional activity of NF-κB. CONCLUSION: OISE suppressed inflammatory responses and prevented the development and progression of NAFL into NASH through inhibition of the nuclear transcriptional activity of NF-κB. OISE may be used to treat NAFLD through many functions, including an increase in insulin sensitivity, a decrease in lipid accumulation in the liver, suppression of inflammation, and clearance of free radicals.