Background/aims Diabetic retinopathy is the most common eye disease that causes blindness in the working population. Neurodegeneration is the early sign of diabetic retinopathy, but no drug has been approved for delaying or reversing retinal neurodegeneration. Huperzine A, a natural alkaloid isolated from Huperzia serrata, displays neuroprotective and antiapoptotic effects in treating neurodegenerative disorders. Our study aims to investigate the effect of huperzine A in preventing retinal neurodegeneration of diabetic retinopathy and its possible mechanism.
Methods Diabetic retinopathy model was induced by streptozotocin. H&E staining, optical coherence tomography, immunofluorescence staining and angiogenic factors were used to determine the degree of retinal pathological injury. The possible molecular mechanism was unrevealed by network pharmacology analysis and further validated by biochemical experiments.
Results In our study, we demonstrated that huperzine A has a protective effect on the diabetes retina in a diabetic rat model. Based on the network pharmacology analysis and biochemical studies, huperzine A may treat diabetic retinopathy via key target HSP27 and apoptosis-related pathways. Huperzine A may modulate the phosphorylation of HSP27 and activate the antiapoptotic signalling pathway.
Conclusion Our findings revealed that huperzine A might be a potential therapeutic drug to prevent diabetic retinopathy. It is the first-time combining network pharmacology analysis with biochemical studies to explore the mechanism of huperzine A in preventing diabetic retinopathy.
- treatment medical
- experimental and animal models
Data availability statement
No data are available.
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YZ, WH and QT contributed equally.
Correction notice This paper has been amended since it was first published. An additiional corresponding author has been added.
Contributors YZ: performed experiments, methodology, investigation, original draft; WH: performed experiments, methodology; QT: performed experiments, analysed the data; GB: original draft, writing—review and editing; WW: writing—review and editing; HY: analysed the data; LH: conceived and designed the experiments, writing—review and editing; XC: supervision, writing—review and editing, funding acquisition. Xiangjun Chen is guarantor.
Funding This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. grants 32271311 and 82200784 to LH, 31872724, and 81900837 to XC, 82271065 to WW, 82204713 to HF).
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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