Metabolomics, an important part of systems biology, can reveal the complex pathogenesis of many diseases and mechanism of Chinese materia medica (CMM). Astragalus membranaceus-Curcuma wenyujin (AC) was a classic drug pair that has a good clinical effect on gastrointestinal inflammation and many tumors. Our previous research proved that AC can inhibit tumor growth and metastasis especially the colorectal cancer (CRC), also promote the normalization of tumor blood vessels, but its optimal ratio and the specific mechanism is still not clear. In this study, colon cancer mice of orthotopic transplantion model was used to screen the best proportion, UPLC-Q-TOF/MS metabolomics analysis method was established to explore the pathogenesis of colon cancer and the molecular mechanism of AC. The correlation analysis of metabolite changes and tumor growth was analyzed by R language. The result showed that AC at the ratio of 2:1 showed the best effect on inhibiting tumor growth, also the liver and spleen metastasis rate. A total of 23 potential biomarkers were detected in the serum of colon cancer mice by the analysis of Progenesis QI (Version 2.4) software. Among this, 11 metabolites including purines, steroids, phytosphingosine and l-palmitoylcarnitine were up-regulated in CC mice, while 12 metabolites like amino acids, deoxyribose and dihydrobiopterin were down-regulated in CC mice. After the treatment of AC for 15 days, 8 biomarkers were up-regulated, and 9 biomarkers down-regulated. Especially, AC at the ratio of 2:1 showed a significant callback effect on metabolic biomarkers, such as hypoxanthine, xanthosine, 7-methylxanthine, all-trans-retinoic acid, dihomo-γ-linolenic acid. 8 metabolic pathways: Aminoacyl-tRNA biosynthesis, Nicotinate and nicotinamide metabolism, Phenylalanine, tyrosine and tryptophan biosynthesis, Valine, leucine and isoleucine biosynthesis, Phenylalanine metabolism, Caffeine metabolism, Retinol metabolism, Alanine, aspartate and glutamate metabolism were selected as the model group disturbed metabolic pathways after the enrichment of MetaboAnalyst 4.0 online analysis software. And compared with the model group, Valine, leucine and isoleucine biosynthesis, Aminoacyl-tRNA biosynthesis, Caffeine metabolism pathway and Retinol metabolism pathways were altered after the intervention of AC. The correlation analysis results showed that various endogenous metabolites in serum have a strong correlation with tumor weight, such as hypoxanthine, which provides a basis for the selection of clinical markers. The results showed that AC can partially regulate metabolic disorder of CC mice by reversing the changes of metabolites, so as to inhibit the growth and metastasis of colon cancer, especially at the ratio of 2:1. These findings can provide a scientific basis for exploring the diagnostic biomarkers of colon cancer, and for clinical application of AC in the treatment of CRC program.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier B.V.

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