A Component Formula of Chinese Medicine for Hypercholesterolemia Based on Virtual Screening and Biology Network

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2018 Jun 28:2018:1854972. doi: 10.1155/2018/1854972. eCollection 2018.


Hypercholesterolemia is a risk factor to atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease II. The abnormal rise of cholesterol in plasma is the main symptom. Cholesterol synthesis pathway is an important pathway of the origin of cholesterol, which is an essential pathway for the therapy of hypercholesterolemia. The 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase (HMG-CoA reductase), squalene synthase (SQS), and sterol regulatory element binding protein-2 (SREBP-2) are closely connected with the synthesis of cholesterol. The inhibition of these targets can reduce the cholesterol in plasma. This study aimed to build a component formula including three Traditional Chinese Medicines (TCM) components with the inhibition activity of these targets by using virtual screening and biological network. Structure-based pharmacophore models of HMG-CoA reductase and SQS and ligand-based pharmacophore model of SREBP-2 were constructed to screen the Traditional Chinese Medicine Database (TCMD). Molecular docking was used for further screening of components of HMG-CoA reductase and SQS. Then, metabolic network was constructed to elucidate the comprehensive interaction of three targets for lipid metabolism. Finally, three potential active compounds were obtained, which are poncimarin, hexahydrocurcumin, and forsythoside C. The source plants of the compounds were also taken into account, which should have known action of lowering hyperlipidemia. The lipid-lowering effect of hexahydrocurcumin was verified by experiment in vitro. The components that originated from TCMs with lipid-lowering efficacy made up a formula with a synergistic effect through the computer aid drug design methods. The research provides a fast and efficient method to build TCM component formula and it may inspire the study of the explanation of TCM formula mechanism.