International journal of molecular sciences

In Silico Analysis and Experimental Validation of Active Compounds from Cichorium intybus L. Ameliorating Liver Injury.

PMID 26389883


This study aimed at investigating the possible mechanisms of hepatic protective activity of Cichorium intybus L. (chicory) in acute liver injury. Pathological observation, reactive oxygen species (ROS) detection and measurements of biochemical indexes on mouse models proved hepatic protective effect of Cichorium intybus L. Identification of active compounds in Cichorium intybus L. was executed through several methods including ultra performance liquid chromatography/time of flight mass spectrometry (UPLC-TOF-MS). Similarity ensemble approach (SEA) docking, molecular modeling, molecular docking, and molecular dynamics (MD) simulation were applied in this study to explore possible mechanisms of the hepato-protective potential of Cichorium intybus L. We then analyzed the chemical composition of Cichorium intybus L., and found their key targets. Furthermore, in vitro cytological examination and western blot were used for validating the efficacy of the selected compounds. In silico analysis and western blot together demonstrated that selected compound 10 in Cichorium intybus L. targeted Akt-1 in hepatocytes. Besides, compound 13 targeted both caspase-1 and Akt-1. These small compounds may ameliorate liver injury by acting on their targets, which are related to apoptosis or autophagy. The conclusions above may shed light on the complex molecular mechanisms of Cichorium intybus L. acting on hepatocytes and ameliorating liver injury.