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Front. Physiol. | doi: 10.3389/fphys.2018.00151

Exploration of the Anti-Inflammatory Drug Space Through Network Pharmacology: Applications for Drug Repurposing

  • 1Biomedical Sciences, University of North Dakota, United States

The quintessential biological response to disease is inflammation. It is a driver and an important element in a wide range of pathological states. Pharmacological management of inflammation is therefore central in the clinical setting. Anti-inflammatory drugs modulate specific molecules involved in the inflammatory response; these drugs are traditionally classified as steroidal and non-steroidal drugs. However, the effects of these drugs are rarely limited to their canonical targets, affecting other molecules and altering biological functions with system-wide effects that can lead to the emergence of secondary therapeutic applications or adverse drug reactions (ADRs).

In this study, relationships among anti-inflammatory drugs, functional pathways, and ADRs were explored through network models. We integrated structural drug information, experimental anti-inflammatory drug perturbation gene expression profiles obtained from the Connectivity Map and Library of Integrated Network-Based Cellular Signatures, functional pathways in the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) and Reactome databases, as well as adverse reaction information from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS).

The network models comprise nodes representing anti-inflammatory drugs, functional pathways, and adverse effects. We identified structural and gene perturbation similarities linking anti-inflammatory drugs. Functional pathways were connected to drugs by implementing Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA). Drugs and adverse effects were connected based on the proportional reporting ratio (PRR) of an adverse effect in response to a given drug.

Through these network models, relationships among anti-inflammatory drugs, their functional effects at the pathway level, and their adverse effects were explored. These networks comprise 70 different anti-inflammatory drugs, 462 functional pathways, and 1,175 ADRs. Network-based properties, such as degree, clustering coefficient, and node strength, were used to identify new therapeutic applications within and beyond the anti-inflammatory context, as well as ADR risk for these drugs, helping to select better repurposing candidates. Based on these parameters, we identified naproxen, meloxicam, etodolac, tenoxicam, flufenamic acid, fenoprofen, and nabumetone as candidates for drug repurposing with lower ADR risk. This network-based analysis pipeline provides a novel way to explore the effects of drugs in a therapeutic space.

Keywords: Network Pharmacology, Anti-inflammatory drugs, Adverse drug events, drug repurposing, Systems Pharmacology, pathway analysis, High throughput screening

Received: 12 Sep 2017; Accepted: 13 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

CARLOS ROSALES, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico

Reviewed by:

Antonio Longo, Università degli Studi di Catania, Italy
Shao Li, Tsinghua University, China  

Copyright: © 2018 de Anda-Jáuregui, Guo, McGregor and Hur. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Junguk Hur, University of North Dakota, Biomedical Sciences, 1301 N Columbia Rd Stop 9037, Grand Forks, 58202, North Dakota, United States, junguk.hur@med.und.edu