AKR1B1 and AKR1B10 are important members of aldo–keto reductase family which plays a significant role in cancer progression by modulating cellular metabolism. These enzymes are involved in various metabolic processes, including the synthesis and metabolism of hormones, detoxification of reactive aldehydes, and the reduction of various endogenous and exogenous compounds. This study aimed to explore the potential of strychnine as an anticancer agent by targeting AKR1B1 and AKR1B10 via drug repurposing approach. To assess the drug-like properties of strychnine, a physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PKPB) model and High Throughput Pharmacokinetics (HTPK) approach were employed. The obtained results fell within the expected range for drug molecules, confirming its suitability for further investigation. Additionally, density functional theory (DFT) studies were conducted to gain insight into the electronic properties contributing to the drug molecule’s reactivity. Building upon the promising DFT results, molecular docking analysis using the AutoDock tool was performed to examine the binding interactions between strychnine and the proposed targets, AKR1B1 and AKR1B10. Findings from the molecular docking studies suggested a higher probability of strychnine acting as an inhibitor of AKR1B1 and AKR1B10 with docking scores of − 30.84 and − 29.36 kJ/mol respectively. To validate the stability of the protein–ligand complex, Molecular Dynamic Simulation (MDS) studies were conducted, revealing the formation of a stable complex between the enzymes and strychnine. This comprehensive approach sheds light on the potential effectiveness of strychnine as a treatment for breast, lung, liver, and pancreatic cancers, as well as related malignancies. The novel insights gained from the physiologically based pharmacokinetic modeling, density functional theory, molecular docking, and molecular dynamics simulations collectively support the prospect of strychnine as a promising molecule for anticancer therapy. Further investigations are warranted to validate these findings and explore the therapeutic potential of strychnine in preclinical and clinical settings.
By Muhammad Sarfraz, Mubashir Aziz, Saira Afzal, Pervaiz Ali Channar, Bshra A. Alsfouk, Ghulam Abbas Kandhro, Sidra Hassan, Ahlam Sultan, Asad Hamad, Mosab Arafat, Muhammad Naeem Qaiser, Aftab Ahmed, Farhan Siddique & Syeda Abida Ejaz