Network pharmacology combined with functional metabolomics discover bile acid metabolism as a promising target for mirabilite against colorectal cancer†
In this study, a combination of network pharmacology and metabolomics was used to explore the mechanism by which mirabilite regulates bile acid metabolism in the treatment of colorectal cancer. The PharmMapper web server was applied to make preliminary predictions for the treatment targets of mirabilite and to predict the interaction between mirabilite and disease targets using Discovery Studio 2.5. Furthermore, the urine metabolic profile was analyzed by the UPLC-Q-TOF-MS technology. The original data were processed by Progenesis QI software and analyzed by multivariate pattern recognition, which allowed us to reveal the metabolic disturbance in colorectal cancer and explain the therapeutic effect of mirabilite. The network pharmacology results showed that mirabilite can act on the disease targets, and the sites of action include amino acid residues Arg-364 and Asp-533, as well as nucleotides TPC-11, DG-112 and DA-113. Based on metabolomics, potential biomarkers were found to lie in the relevant pathways of bile acid metabolism, such as taurine, chenodeoxycholic acid, cholic acid, and deoxycholic acid. The results showed that mirabilite could regulate the distribution of overall metabolic disturbance, and bile acid metabolism was the main targeted pathway. Additionally, we predicted the upstream targets by ingenuity pathway analysis and found that mirabilite played a significant role in regulating the bile acid-related biomarkers, which allowed comprehensive analysis of the effect of mirabilite on colorectal cancer. This study fully explained the role of mirabilite in inhibiting colorectal cancer, which mainly occurs through bile acid metabolism, via the approach of network pharmacology combined with functional metabolomics.