Vitiligo is a long-term skin disease characterized by the loss of pigment in the skin. The current therapeutic approaches are limited. Although the anti-vitiligo mechanisms of Vernonia anthelmintica (L.) remain ambiguous, the herb has been broadly used in Uyghur hospitals to treat vitiligo. The overall objective of the present study aims to identify the potential lead compounds from Vernonia anthelmintica (L.) in the treatment of vitiligo via an oral route as well as the melanogenic mechanisms in the systematic approaches in silico of admetSAR and substructure-drug-target network-based inference (SDTNBI).
The results showed that the top 5 active compounds with a relatively higher bioavailability that interacted with 23 therapeutic targets were identified in Vernonia anthelmintica (L.) using admetSAR and SDTNBI methods. Among these compounds, Isorhamnetin and Kaempferide, which are methyl-flavonoids, performed 1st and 2nd. Isorhamnetin and Kaempferide significantly increased the expression of melanin-biosynthetic genes (MC1R, MITF, TYR, TYRP1 and DCT) and the tyrosinase activity in B16F10 cells. Isorhamnetin and Kaempferide significantly increased the mRNA-expression of melanin-biosynthetic genes (MC1R, MITF, TYR, TYRP1 and DCT), the protein level of MITF and the tyrosinase activity. Based on the SDTNBI method and experimental verification, Isorhamnetin and Kaempferide effectively increased melanogenesis by targeting the MC1R-MITF signaling pathway, MAPK signaling pathway, PPAR signaling pathway (PPARA, PPARD, PPARG), arachidonic acid metabolism pathway (ALOX12, ALOX15, CBR1) and serotonergic synapses (ALOX12, ALOX15) in the treatment of vitiligo from a network perspective.
We identified the melanogenic activity of the methyl-flavonoids Isorhamnetin and Kaempferide, which were successfully predicted in a network pharmacological analysis of Vernonia anthelmintica (L.) by admetSAR and SDTNBI methods.