Aberrant microglial activation drives neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease (AD). The present study is aimed at investigating whether the herbal formula Qi-Fu-Yin (QFY) could inhibit the inflammatory activation of cultured BV-2 microglia. A network pharmacology approach was employed to predict the active compounds of QFY, protein targets, and affected pathways. The representative pathways and molecular functions of the targets were analyzed by Gene Ontology (GO) and pathway enrichment. A total of 145 active compounds were selected from seven herbal ingredients of QFY. Targets (e.g., MAPT, APP, ACHE, iNOS, and COX-2) were predicted for the selected active compounds based on the relevance to AD and inflammation. As a validation, fractions were sequentially prepared by aqueous extraction, ethanolic precipitation, and HPLC separation, and assayed for downregulating two key proinflammatory biomarkers iNOS and COX-2 in lipopolysaccharide- (LPS-) challenged BV-2 cells by the Western blotting technique. Moreover, the compounds of QFY in 90% ethanol downregulated iNOS in BV-2 cells but showed no activity against COX-2 induction. Among the herbal ingredients of QFY, Angelicae Sinensis Radix and Ginseng Radix et Rhizoma contributed to the selective inhibition of iNOS induction. Furthermore, chemical analysis identified ginsenosides, especially Rg3, as antineuroinflammatory compounds. The herbal formula QFY may ameliorate neuroinflammation via downregulating iNOS in microglia.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Cell Biology