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6-Gingerol ameliorates ulcerative colitis by inhibiting ferroptosis based on the integrative analysis of plasma metabolomics and network pharmacology.

Food & Function 2024 June 5
6-Gingerol (6-G), an active ingredient of ginger with anti-inflammation and anti-oxidation properties, can treat ulcerative colitis (UC). However, its underlying mechanism is still unclear. In this study, the pharmacodynamic evaluation of 6-G for treating UC was performed, and the mechanism of 6-G in ameliorating UC was excavated by plasma metabolomics and network pharmacology analysis, which was further validated by experimental and molecular docking. The results showed that 6-G could notably reduce diarrhea, weight loss, colonic pathological damage, and inflammation in UC mice. Plasma metabolomic results indicated that 6-G could regulate 19 differential metabolites, and its metabolic pathways mainly involved linoleic acid metabolism and arachidonic acid metabolism, which were closely associated with ferroptosis. Moreover, 60 potential targets for 6-G intervention on ferroptosis in UC were identified by network pharmacology, and enrichment analysis revealed that 6-G suppressed ferroptosis by modulating lipid peroxidation. Besides, the integration of metabolomics and network pharmacology showed that the regulation of 6-G on ferroptosis focused on 3 key targets, including ALOX5, ALOX15, and PTGS2. Further investigation indicated that 6-G significantly inhibited ferroptosis by decreasing iron load and malondialdehyde (MDA), and enhanced antioxidant capacity by reducing the content of glutathione disulfide (GSSG) and increasing the levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione (GSH) in UC mice and RSL3-induced Caco-2 cells. Furthermore, molecular docking showed the high affinity of 6-G with the identified 3 key targets. Collectively, this study elucidated the potential of 6-G in ameliorating UC by inhibiting ferroptosis. The integrated strategy also provided a theoretical basis for 6-G in treating UC.

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