Abstract

Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), a chronic low-grade inflammatory disease with high morbidity and mortality, is a serious threat to public health. Previously we demonstrated that a traditional Chinese medicine formulation, Jiedu Tongluo Tiaogan Formula (JDTL), exerted a favorable hypoglycemic effect due to unknown molecular mechanisms involving interactions among JDTL compounds and various cellular components. This study aimed to explore JDTL mechanisms for alleviating hyperglycemia using an integrated strategy incorporating system pharmacology, bioinformatics analysis, and experimental verification. This strategy entailed initial elucidation of JDTL chemical composition using fingerprint analysis via high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Next, functions of putative shared target genes and associated pathways were deduced using GO and KEGG pathway enrichment and molecular docking analyses. Ultimately, targets associated with JTDL anti-T2DM effects were found to be functionally associated with biological functions related to lipopolysaccharide and cytokine receptor binding. These results implicated PI3K-Akt signaling pathway involvement in JDTL anti-T2DM effects, as this pathway had been previously shown to play significant roles in glucose and lipid metabolism-related diseases. Furthermore, addition of JDTL to INS-1 and HepG2 cell cultures stimulated cellular mRNA-level and protein-level expression leading to enhanced production of IRS1, Akt, and PI3K. In summary, here JDTL bioactive ingredients, potential targets, and molecular mechanisms underlying JDTL anti-T2DM effects were identified using a multi-component, multi-target, and multi-channel analytical approach, thus providing an important scientific foundation to facilitate development of new drugs mechanistic strategies for preventing and treating T2DM.