DataSheet3_Inspiration for COVID-19 Treatment: Network Analysis and Experimental Validation of Baicalin for Cytokine Storm.xlsx (10.81 kB)
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DataSheet3_Inspiration for COVID-19 Treatment: Network Analysis and Experimental Validation of Baicalin for Cytokine Storm.xlsx

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posted on 08.03.2022, 05:08 authored by Jia You, Huawei Li, Peng Fan, Xi Yang, Yuanfeng Wei, Lingnan Zheng, Zhaojun Li, Cheng Yi

Background: Cytokine storm (CS) is a systemic inflammatory syndrome and a major cause of multi-organ failure and even death in COVID-19 patients. With the increasing number of COVID-19 patients, there is an urgent need to develop effective therapeutic strategies for CS. Baicalin is an anti-inflammatory and antiviral traditional Chinese medicine. In the present study, we aimed to evaluate the therapeutic mechanism of baicalin against CS through network analysis and experimental validation, and to detect key targets of CS that may bind closely to baicalin through molecular docking.

Method: Access to potential targets of baicalin and CS in public databases. We constructed the protein-protein interaction (PPI) network of baicalin and CS by Cytoscape 9.0 software and performed network topology analysis of the potential targets. Then, the hub target was identified by molecular docking technique and validated in the CS model. Finally, GO and KEGG pathway functional enrichment analysis of common targets were confirmed using R language, and the location of overlapping targets in key pathways was queried via KEGG Mapper.

Result: A total of 86 overlapping targets of baicalin and CS were identified, among which MAPK14, IL2, FGF2, CASP3, PTGS2, PIK3CA, EGFR, and TNF were the core targets. Moreover, it was found that baicalin bound most closely to TNF through molecular docking, and demonstrated that baicalin can effectively inhibit the elevation of TNF-α in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, bioenrichment analysis revealed that the TNF signaling pathway and IL-17 signaling pathway may be potential key pathways for baicalin to treat CS.

Conclusion: Based on this study, baicalin was identified as a potential drug for the alleviation of CS, and the possible key targets and pathways of baicalin for the treatment of CS were elucidated to reveal the main pharmacological mechanisms.

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