Phytomedicine. 2022 Jan 15;98:153945.doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2022.153945.

Atractylenolide-1 targets SPHK1 and B4GALT2 to regulate intestinal metabolism and flora composition to improve inflammation in mice with colitis

Linghang Qu  1 Kun Shi  1 Jing Xu  1 Chunlian Liu  1 Chang Ke  1 Xin Zhan  1 Kang Xu  2 Yanju Liu  3 Affiliations


Background: Atractylenolide-1, an active component of Atractylodes Lancea, which is widely used to improve the gastrointestinal function. However, the efficacy and mechanism remain unclear in treating ulcerative colitis (UC).

Purpose: This study aimed to investigate the efficacy and the underlying mechanism of atractylenolide-1in UC.

Methods: A dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced UC mouse model was used to investigate the efficacy of atractylenolide-1. 16S DNA sequencing, GC-MS technique and transcriptome sequencing were used to detect the composition of mouse intestinal flora, the changes of metabolites and gene expression in mouse intestine. Compound-reaction-enzyme-gene network was used to find drug targets. Recombinant plasmid overexpression was used to verify drug targets in DSS mouse models.

Results: The results showed that Atractylenolide-1 could significantly improve weight loss, diarrhea, blood in the stool, shortening of the colon, the loss of colonic goblet cells, reduction in mucoprotein MUC2, and tight junction proteins (zo-1, occludin) in mice with colitis. It reduced the inflammatory factors TNF-α, IL-6, IL-1β as well. The 16S sequencing showed that Atractylenolide-1 regulated the diversity and abundance of the intestinal flora in mice with colitis, and the analysis of flora enrichment indicated that the regulation of intestinal flora by atractylenolide-1 may be related to the regulation of metabolism. Correlation analysis of metabolomics and transcriptome showed that two genes SPHK1 and B4GALT2 related to the metabolism of fructose and galactose were regulated by atractylenolide-1. Further verification showed that atractylenolide-1 significantly inhibited the aberrance of SPHK1 and B4GALT2 in the colon with colitis. Meanwhile, it inhibited the activation of the PI3K-AKT pathway. SPHK1 and B4GALT2 overexpressing reversed the therapeutic effect of atractylenolide-1 in mice with colitis.

Conclusion: Atractylenolide-1 is a potential drug for the treatment of colitis by suppressing inflammation via the SPHK1/PI3K/AKT axis and by targeting SPHK1 and B4GAT2 to regulate fructose/galactose-related metabolism, thereby regulating the composition of the intestinal flora.

Keywords: Atractylenolide-1; B4galt2; Intestinal flora; Metabolism; Sphk1; Ulcerative colitis.