Mechanism of action of Orthosiphon stamineus against non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: Insights from systems pharmacology and molecular docking approaches

  • 03 Dec 2022
  • Published Resarch - Pharmacy


Salah Abdulrazak Alshehade, Raghdaa Hamdan Al Zarzour, Vikneswaran Murugaiyah, Sharoen Yu Ming Lim, Huda Ghaleb El-Refae, Mohammed Abdullah Alshawsh

Published in

Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal, volume 30, issue 11, Pages 1572-1588, November 2022.



Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the most common complications of a metabolic syndrome caused by excessive accumulation of fat in the liver. Orthosiphon stamineus also known as Orthosiphon aristatus is a medicinal plant with possible potential beneficial effects on various metabolic disorders. This study aims to investigate the in vitro inhibitory effects of O. stamineus on hepatic fat accumulation and to further use the computational systems pharmacology approach to identify the pharmacokinetic properties of the bioactive compounds of O. stamineus and to predict their molecular mechanisms against NAFLD.

Methods: The effects of an ethanolic extract of O. stamineus leaves on cytotoxicity, fat accumulation and antioxidant activity were assessed using HepG2 cells. The bioactive compounds of O. stamineus were identified using LC/MS and two bioinformatics databases, namely the Traditional Chinese Medicine Integrated Database (TCMID) and the Bioinformatics Analysis Tool for the Molecular Mechanism of Traditional Chinese Medicine (BATMAN-TCM). Pathway enrichment analysis was performed on the predicted targets of the bioactive compounds to provide a systematic overview of the molecular mechanism of action, while molecular docking was used to validate the predicted targets.

Results: A total of 27 bioactive compounds corresponding to 50 potential NAFLD-related targets were identified. O. stamineus exerts its anti-NAFLD effects by modulating a variety of cellular processes, including oxidative stress, mitochondrial b-oxidation, inflammatory signalling pathways, insulin signalling, and fatty acid homeostasis pathways. O. stamineus is significantly targeting many oxidative stress regulators, including JNK, mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), NFKB1, PPAR, and AKT1. Molecular docking analysis confirmed the expected high affinity for the potential targets, while the in vitro assay indicates the ability of O. stamineus to inhibit hepatic fat accumulation.

Conclusion: Using the computational systems pharmacology approach, the potentially beneficial effect of O. stamineus in NAFLD was indicated through the combination of multiple compounds, multiple targets, and multicellular components

Keywords: Orthosiphon aristatus, Orthosiphon stamineus, Medicinal plant, Systems pharmacology, Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, Cellular target, Pathway enrichment analysis, Protein–protein interaction, Molecular docking, Oxidative stress,Inflammation.

Link to Read Full Paper