Radix Sophorae Flavescentis
(RSF) and Fructus Cnidii
(FC) compose a typical herbal synergic pair in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for pruritus symptom treatments. The mechanisms of action for the synergy are not understood. This paper aims at predicting the anti-pruritus targets and the main active ingredients for the RSF and FC herbal pair. We demonstrate that the RSF–FC herbal pair can be elucidated by mining the chemical structures of compounds derived from RSF and FC. Based on chemical structure data, the putative targets for RSF and FC were predicted. Additional putative targets that interact with the anti-pruritus targets were derived by mapping the putative targets onto a PPI network. By examining the annotations of these proteins, we conclude that (1) RSF’s active compounds are mainly alkaloids and flavonoids. The representative putative targets of the alkaloids are inflammation-related proteins (MAPK14, PTGS2, PTGS2, and F2) and pruritus-related proteins (HRH1, TRPA1, HTR3A, and HTR6). The representative putative targets of the flavonoids are inflammation-related proteins (TNF, NF-κB, F2, PTGS2, and PTGS2) and pruritus-related proteins (NR3C1 and IL2). (2) FC’s active compounds are mainly coumarins. Their representative putative targets are CNS-related proteins (AChE and OPRK1) and inflammation-related proteins (PDE4D, TLR9, and NF-κB). (3) Both RSF and FC display anti-inflammatory effects, though they exhibit their anti-pruritus effects in different ways. Their synergy shows that RSF regulates inflammation-related pruritus and FC regulates CNS-related pruritus.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited