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Network pharmacology and experimental verification to explore the anti-migraine mechanism of Yufeng Ningxin Tablet.

ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Yufeng Ningxin Tablet (YNT) is a traditional Chinese medicine formula, that has been used clinically to treat migraine for many years. It is composed of one herb Pueraria lobata var. lobata (Willd.) Ohwi (Relevant Chinese name: Gegen). Previously, it has been recorded by traditional Chinese doctor that Gegen could be used as medicine to treat migraine. However, the underlying mechanism of action remains to be investigated.

AIM OF THE STUDY: It was to explore the effect and mechanism of YNT on migraine based on network pharmacology and experimental verification.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: First, with the network pharmacology, the effective chemical components and target genes of YNT were filtrated, the YNT-compound-migraine-targets network was constructed. The protein-protein interaction network (PPI) and literature reports were combined to identify potential targets of YNT in the treatment of migraine. Then, the representative compounds of YNT were characterized by LC-MS/MS and the major effect components were identified. Finally, the prediction results of network pharmacology were verified by animal and cell experiments.

RESULTS: 7 bioactive components of YNT could act on 97 migraine potential targets. The 5 bioactive components could be characterized comprehensively of YNT. The key therapeutic targets and pathways were collected including 5-HT, CGRP, inflammation and nociceptive factors, and NF-κB signaling pathway. Animal experiments showed that YNT could reduce the expression level of 5-HT, CGRP, NF-κB, c-fos and IL-1β. YNT could inhibit LPS-induced neuroinflammation by NF-κB in BV2 cells in vitro. Western blotting analysis results showed YNT inhibited the NF-κB and phospho-NF-κB levels.

CONCLUSIONS: It is the first time to verify the consistency between the metabolic components of YNT by LC-MS/MS and the active components predicted by network pharmacology. Meanwhile, the potential mechanism of YNT in the treatment of migraine was studied by combining network pharmacology and in vitro and in vivo experiments.

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