Sinomenii Caulis (SC) is a well-konwn traditional Chinese medicine used for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), dermatophytosis and paralysis. Patients with RA are usually secondary to osteoporosis, but the potential protective effect of SC on osteoporosis (OP) is seldom reported and its possible action mechanism is little known.
The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the anti-osteoporosis effects of SC extract and alkaloids in prednisolone (Pre)-induced OP of zebrafish, and then to explore the potential mechanism of SC on system level by network pharmacology.
Firstly, zebrafish OP model was established to investigate the anti-osteoporosis effect of SC. Secondly, the targets of SC and OP from multiple databases were collected, and Compound-Target-Pathway network based on protein-protein interaction (PPI) was constructed. Moreover, Gene enrichment and annotation were performed via the DAVID server. Finally, the reliability of the network pharmacology prediction results in Pre-induced OP of zebrafish was verified by qRT-PCR.
The results indicated that SC extract and alkaloids have remarkable ability to promote bone formation of cranial bones and reduce TRAP contents in Pre-induced OP of zebrafish. 32 OP-related ingredients in SC and 77 OP-related targets were screened from multiple databases, and 15 OP-related pathways were enriched by the KEGG database. Further experimental validation indicated that SC extract and alkaloids could regulate the expression of MAPK14, CASP3, CXCL8, IL-1β, IL6, PTGS2, TNF-α, ESR1, and MMP9 for treatment of OP.
In summary, we conducted an integrative analysis to provide convincing evidence that SC may partially alleviate OP by inhibiting pro-inflammatory cytokines and regulating of RANK/RANKL/OPG system.

Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier B.V.