IJMS, Vol. 21, Pages 2534: In Silico Studies on Triterpenoid Saponins Permeation through the Blood-Brain Barrier Combined with Postmortem Research on the Brain Tissues of Mice Affected by Astragaloside IV Administration (International Journal of Molecular Sciences)
As the number of central nervous system (CNS) drug candidates is constantly growing, there is a strong need for precise a priori prediction of whether an administered compound is able to cross the blood–brain barrier (BBB). The aim of this study was to evaluate the ability to cross the BBB of triterpenoid saponins occurring in Astragalus mongholicus roots. The research was carried out using in silico methods combined with postmortem studies on the brain tissues of mice treated with isolated astragaloside IV (AIV). Firstly, to estimate the ability to cross the BBB by the tested saponins, new quantitative structure–activity relationship (QSAR) models were established. The reliability and predictability of the model based on the values of the blood–brain barrier penetration descriptor (logBB), the difference between the n-octanol/water and cyclohexane/water logP (ΔlogP), the logarithm of n-octanol/water partition coefficient (logPow), and the excess molar refraction (E) were both confirmed using the applicability domain (AD). The critical leverage value h* was found to be 0.128. The relationships between the standardized residuals and the leverages were investigated here. The application of an in vitro acetylcholinesterase-inhibition test showed that AIV can be recognized as the strongest inhibitor among the tested compounds. Therefore, it was isolated for the postmortem studies on brain tissues and blood using semi-preparative HPLC with the mobile phase composed of water, methanol, and ethyl acetate (1.7:2.1:16.2 v/v/v). The results of the postmortem studies on the brain tissues show a regular dependence of the final concentration of AIV in the analyzed brain samples of animals treated with 12.5 and 25 mg/kg b.w. of AIV (0.00012299 and 0.0002306 mg, respectively, per one brain). Moreover, the AIV logBB value was experimentally determined and found to be equal to 0.49 ± 0.03.