Blockade of PI3K/AKT signaling pathway by Astragaloside IV attenuates ulcerative colitis via improving the intestinal epithelial barrier


J Transl Med. 2024 Apr 30;22(1):406. doi: 10.1186/s12967-024-05168-w.


BACKGROUND: The specific pathogenesis of UC is still unclear, but it has been clear that defects in intestinal barrier function play an important role in it. There is a temporary lack of specific drugs for clinical treatment. Astragaloside IV (AS-IV) is one of the main active ingredients extracted from Astragalus root and is a common Chinese herbal medicine for the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases. This study aimed to determine whether AS-IV has therapeutic value for DSS or LPS-induced intestinal epithelial barrier dysfunction in vivo and in vitro and its potential molecular mechanisms.

METHODS: The intestinal tissues from UC patients and colitis mice were collected, intestinal inflammation was observed by colonoscopy, and mucosal barrier function was measured by immunofluorescence staining. PI3K/AKT signaling pathway activator YS-49 and inhibitor LY-29 were administered to colitic mice to uncover the effect of this pathway on gut mucosal barrier modulation. Then, network pharmacology was used to screen Astragaloside IV (AS-IV), a core active component of the traditional Chinese medicine Astragalus membranaceus. The potential of AS-IV for intestinal barrier function repairment and UC treatment through blockade of the PI3K/AKT pathway was further confirmed by histopathological staining, FITC-dextran, transmission electron microscopy, ELISA, immunofluorescence, qRT-PCR, and western blotting. Finally, 16 S rRNA sequencing was performed to uncover whether AS-IV can ameliorate UC by regulating gut microbiota homeostasis.

RESULTS: Mucosal barrier function was significantly damaged in UC patients and murine colitis, and the activated PI3K/AKT signaling pathway was extensively involved. Both in vivo and vitro showed that the AS-IV-treated group significantly relieved inflammation and improved intestinal epithelial permeability by inhibiting the activation of the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway. In addition, microbiome data found that gut microbiota participates in AS-IV-mediated intestinal barrier recovery as well.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study highlights that AS-IV exerts a protective effect on the integrality of the mucosal barrier in UC based on the PI3K/AKT pathway, and AS-IV may serve as a novel AKT inhibitor to provide a potential therapy for UC.

PMID:38689349 | DOI:10.1186/s12967-024-05168-w