Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry

In silico search for multi-target anti-inflammatories in Chinese herbs and formulas.

PMID 20188577


Chinese herbs were screened for compounds which may be active against four targets involved in inflammation, using pharmacophore-assisted docking. Multiple LigandScout (LS) pharmacophores built from ligand-receptor complexes in the protein databank (PDB) were first employed to select compounds. These compounds were then docked using LS-derived templates and ranked according to docking score. The targets comprised cyclo-oxygenases 1 & 2 (COX), p38 MAP kinase (p38), c-Jun terminal-NH(2) kinase (JNK) and type 4 cAMP-specific phosphodiesterase (PDE4). The results revealed that multi-target inhibitors are likely to be relatively common in Chinese herbs. Details of their distribution are given, in addition to experimental evidence supporting these results. Examples of compounds predicted to be active against at least three targets are presented, and their features outlined. The distribution of herbs containing predicted inhibitors was also analysed in relation to 192 Chinese formulas from over 50 herbal categories. Among those found to contain a high proportion of these herbs were formulas traditionally used to treat fever, headache, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disorders, skin disease, cancer, and traumatic injury. Relationships between multi-target drug discovery and Chinese medicine are discussed.