Exploring the therapeutic mechanisms of Cassia glauca in diabetes mellitus through network pharmacology, molecular docking and molecular dynamics†
Cassia glauca is reported as anti-diabetic medicinal plant and is also used as an ethnomedicine. However, its mode of action as an anti-diabetic agent has not been clearly elucidated. Hence, the present study investigated the probable mechanism of action of C. glauca to manage diabetes mellitus via network pharmacology and molecular docking and simulations studies. The reported bioactives from C. glauca were retrieved from an open-source database, i.e. ChEBI, and their targets were predicted using SwissTargetPrediction. The proteins involved in the pathogenesis of diabetes were identified from the therapeutic target database. The targets involved in diabetes were enriched in STRING, and the pathways involved in diabetes were identified concerning the KEGG. Cytoscape was used to construct the network among bioactives, proteins, and probably regulated pathways, which were analyzed based on edge count. Similarly, molecular docking was performed using the Glide module of the Schrodinger suite against majorly targeted proteins with their respective ligands. Additionally, the drug-likeness score and ADMET profile of the individual bioactives were predicted using MolSoft and admetSAR2.0 respectively. The stability of these complexes were further studied via molecular dynamics simulations and binding energy calculations. Twenty-three bio-actives were retrieved from the ChEBI database in which cassiarin B was predicted to modulate the highest number of proteins involved in diabetes mellitus. Similarly, GO analysis identified the PI3K-Akt signaling pathway to be primarily regulated by modulating the highest number of gene. Likewise, aldose reductase (AKR1B1) was majorly targeted via the bioactives of C. glauca. Similarly, docking study revealed methyl-3,5-di-O-caffeoylquinate (docking score −9.209) to possess the highest binding affinity with AKR1B1. Additionally, drug-likeness prediction identified cassiaoccidentalin B to possess the highest drug-likeness score, i.e. 0.84. The molecular dynamics simulations and the MMGBSA indicate high stability and greater binding energy for the methyl-3,5-di-O-caffeoylquinate (ΔGbind = −40.33 ± 6.69 kcal mol−1) with AKR1B1, thus complementing results from other experiments. The study identified cassiarin B, cassiaoccidentalin B, and cinnamtannin A2 as lead hits for the anti-diabetic activity of C. glauca. Further, the PI3K-Akt and AKR1B1 were traced as majorly modulated pathway and target, respectively.