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Uncovering the anticancer mechanism of Compound Kushen Injection against HCC by integrating quantitative analysis, network analysis and experimental validation

By Li Gao, Ke-xin Wang, Yu-zhi Zhou, Jian-song Fang, Xue-mei Qin and Guan-hua Du


Abstract Compound Kushen Injection (CKI) is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) preparation that has been clinically used in China to treat various types of solid tumours. Although several studies have revealed that CKI can inhibit the proliferation of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell lines, the active compounds, potential targets and pathways involved in these effects have not been systematically investigated. Here, we proposed a novel idea of “main active compound-based network pharmacology” to explore the anti-cancer mechanism of CKI. Our results showed that CKI significantly suppressed the proliferation and migration of SMMC-7721 cells. Four main active compounds of CKI (matrine, oxymatrine, sophoridine and N-methylcytisine) were confirmed by the integration of ultra-performance liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS) with cell proliferation assays. The potential targets and pathways involved in the anti-HCC effects of CKI were predicted by a network pharmacology approach, and some of the crucial proteins and pathways were further validated by western blotting and metabolomics approaches. Our results indicated that CKI exerted anti-HCC effects via the key targets MMP2, MYC, CASP3, and REG1A and the key pathways of glycometabolism and amino acid metabolism. These results provide insights into the mechanism of CKI by combining quantitative analysis of components, network pharmacology and experimental validation

Topics: Medicine, R, Science, Q
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Year: 2018
DOI identifier: 10.1038/s41598-017-18325-7
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