Tetramethylpyrazine identified by a network pharmacology approach ameliorates methotrexate-induced oxidative organ injury

Bo Zhang, Cheng Lu, Ming Bai, Xiaojuan He, Yong Tan, Yanqin Bian, Cheng Xiao, Ge ZHANG, Aiping LYU*, Shao Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Ethnopharmacological relevance Tetramethylpyrazine (TMP) is one of the active constituents extracted from a frequently used herb, Ligusticum wallichii Franchat (Chuan-Xiong in Chinese), in traditional Chinese medicine. TMP can exert multiple pharmacological actions such as anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative damage, anti-platelet and neuroprotective effects, and its applications deserve further explored. Aim of the study This study aimed to determine the new role of TMP identified by a network pharmacology approach to alleviate the methotrexate (MTX)-induced oxidative injury and characterize their mechanism of combinational actions. Materials and methods A network pharmacology-based screening strategy is applied for target profile prediction and pharmacological characterization of herbal compounds, which is used to guide the following in vitro and in vivo experiments. The effect of herbal compounds identified by network pharmacology approaches to reduce the toxicity of MTX was assessed by MTX-induced rat toxicity model. The potential targets of TMP in this study were evaluated using standard protocols provided by Cerep, Inc. Results This strategy identified TMP from Ligusticum wallichii Franchat as a potent compound for ameliorating the oxidative organ injury of MTX. According to the predicted target profiles of TMP, a possible mechanism of the abrogation of MTX-induced toxicity is that TMP could upregulate cAMP by inhibiting phosphodiesterase (PDE) 10A2 activity. Another novel finding is that the competitive binding and antagonistic effects of TMP on adenosine receptor 2A and 2B appear to play important roles in the TMP-mediated reversal of MTX-induced hepatic injury. Conclusion TMP identified by a network pharmacology approach could ameliorate MTX-induced oxidative organ injury. This study provides important evidence for the preclinical evaluation of TMP and MTX as a novel combinatorial remedy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)638-647
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Ethnopharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2015

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery

User-Defined Keywords

  • Combination therapy
  • Methotrexate
  • Network pharmacology
  • Oxidative organ injury
  • Tetramethylpyrazine


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