Therapeutic Mechanism and Key Alkaloids of Uncaria rhynchophylla in Alzheimer's Disease From the Perspective of Pathophysiological Processes

Front Pharmacol. 2021 Dec 15;12:806984. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2021.806984. eCollection 2021.


Presently, there is a lack of effective disease-modifying drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Uncaria rhynchophylla (UR) and its predominant active phytochemicals alkaloids have been studied to treat AD. This study used a novel network pharmacology strategy to identify UR alkaloids against AD from the perspective of AD pathophysiological processes and identified the key alkaloids for specific pathological process. The analysis identified 10 alkaloids from UR based on high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) that corresponded to 127 targets correlated with amyloid-β (Aβ) pathology, tau pathology and Alzheimer disease pathway. Based on the number of targets correlated with AD pathophysiological processes, angustoline, angustidine, corynoxine and isocorynoxeine are highly likely to become key phytochemicals in AD treatment. Among the 127 targets, JUN, STAT3, MAPK3, CCND1, MMP2, MAPK8, GSK3B, JAK3, LCK, CCR5, CDK5 and GRIN2B were identified as core targets. Based on the pathological process of AD, angustoline, angustidine and isocorynoxeine were identified as the key UR alkaloids regulating Aβ production and corynoxine, isocorynoxeine, dihydrocorynatheine, isorhynchophylline and hirsutine were identified as key alkaloids that regulate tau phosphorylation. The findings of this study contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the key alkaloids and mechanisms of UR in the treatment of AD, as well as provide candidate compounds for drug research and development for specific AD pathological processes.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Aβ pathology; Uncaria rhynchophylla; pathophysiological processes; tau pathology.