Validating methods for testing natural molecules on molecular pathways of interest in silico and in vitro

J Prev Med Hyg. 2022 Oct 17;63(2 Suppl 3):E279-E288. doi: 10.15167/2421-4248/jpmh2022.63.2S3.2770. eCollection 2022 Jun.


Differentially expressed genes can serve as drug targets and are used to predict drug response and disease progression. In silico drug analysis based on the expression of these genetic biomarkers allows the detection of putative therapeutic agents, which could be used to reverse a pathological gene expression signature. Indeed, a set of bioinformatics tools can increase the accuracy of drug discovery, helping in biomarker identification. Once a drug target is identified, in vitro cell line models of disease are used to evaluate and validate the therapeutic potential of putative drugs and novel natural molecules. This study describes the development of efficacious PCR primers that can be used to identify gene expression of specific genetic pathways, which can lead to the identification of natural molecules as therapeutic agents in specific molecular pathways. For this study, genes involved in health conditions and processes were considered. In particular, the expression of genes involved in obesity, xenobiotics metabolism, endocannabinoid pathway, leukotriene B4 metabolism and signaling, inflammation, endocytosis, hypoxia, lifespan, and neurotrophins were evaluated. Exploiting the expression of specific genes in different cell lines can be useful in in vitro to evaluate the therapeutic effects of small natural molecules.

Keywords: Biochemical pathways; Bioinformatics tools; Gene expression; In vitro; Natural molecules.