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A Network Pharmacology Approach to Determine the Active Components and Potential Targets of Curculigo Orchioides in the Treatment of Osteoporosis

Nani Wang, Guizhi Zhao, Yang Zhang, Xuping Wang, Lisha Zhao, Pingcui Xu, Dan Shou

Department of Medicine, Zhejiang Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2017; 23:5113-5122

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.904264

Available online:

Published: 2017-10-27


BACKGROUND: Osteoporosis is a complex bone disorder with a genetic predisposition, and is a cause of health problems worldwide. In China, Curculigo orchioides (CO) has been widely used as a herbal medicine in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. However, research on the mechanism of action of CO is still lacking. The aim of this study was to identify the absorbable components, potential targets, and associated treatment pathways of CO using a network pharmacology approach.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: We explored the chemical components of CO and used the five main principles of drug absorption to identify absorbable components. Targets for the therapeutic actions of CO were obtained from the PharmMapper server database. Pathway enrichment analysis was performed using the Comparative Toxicogenomics Database (CTD). Cytoscape was used to visualize the multiple components-multiple target-multiple pathways-multiple disease network for CO.
RESULTS: We identified 77 chemical components of CO, of which 32 components could be absorbed in the blood. These potential active components of CO regulated 83 targets and affected 58 pathways. Data analysis showed that the genes for estrogen receptor alpha (ESR1) and beta (ESR2), and the gene for 11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1, or cortisone reductase (HSD11B1) were the main targets of CO. Endocrine regulatory factors and factors regulating calcium reabsorption, steroid hormone biosynthesis, and metabolic pathways were related to these main targets and to ten corresponding compounds.
CONCLUSIONS: The network pharmacology approach used in our study has attempted to explain the mechanisms for the effects of CO in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, and provides an alternative approach to the investigation of the effects of this complex compound.

Keywords: Computational Biology, herbal medicine, Osteoporosis



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