Bupleurum chinense DC. (Chaihu) is a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) used in the treatment of anxiety. But the anxiolytic mechanisms of bupleurum are still unclear. Therefore, this unknown is predicted by network pharmacology study with molecular docking in the present study.
The components of bupleurum were obtained from the databases. Genes associated with components and disease were also provided by databases. Overlapping genes between components and disease were analyzed. The network of medicine-components-targets-disease was constructed, visualized, and analyzed. Protein-protein interaction (PPI), gene ontology (GO), pathway enrichment (KEGG) and molecular docking were conducted to predict the potential mechanisms of bupleurum on anxiety.
A total of 9 bioactive components derived from bupleurum with 80 target genes were involved in anxiety. Neurotransmitter receptor activity, G protein-coupled amine receptor activity, regulation of blood circulation, neuroactive ligand-receptor interaction, calcium signaling pathway and salivary secretion may play significant roles in the anxiolytic of bupleurum. Molecular docking implicated that ACHE and MAOA showed high affinity for stigmasterol.
Based on network pharmacology study with molecular docking, multi-component-multi-target-multi-pathway action mode of bupleurum on anxiety was elaborated. Stigmasterol might be the core bioactive component, while ACHE and MAOA might be the core target genes in the pharmacological profile of bupleurum on anxiety.