Asian Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Asian Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine

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Elucidation of the Mechanisms and Molecular Targets of Lianhuaqingwen for Treatment of COVID-19 Based on Network Pharmacology

Yan Luo1,2, Si-ting Gao1, Jun-xiong Cheng1, Wei-jian Xiong2 and Wen-Fu Cao1*

1College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chongqing Medical University, No.1 Medical College Road, Yuzhong District, Chongqing, 400016, PR China
2Chongqing Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 7 Panxi Branch Road, Jiangbei District, Chongqing, 400021, PR China


Lianhuaqingwen (LH) is the widely used in the treatment of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, its mechanisms of action and molecular targets for treatment of COVID-19 are not clear. The active compounds of LH were collected and their targets were identified through the network pharmacology. The mechanism of compound multi components and multi targets and its relationship with disease are analyzed. COVID-19 targets were obtained by analyzing with TCMSP. In total, 282 active ingredients and 510 targets of LH were identified. Twenty-one target genes associated with LH and COVID-19. Protein-protein interaction (PPI) data were then obtained and PPI networks of LH putative targets and COVID-19-related targets were visualized and merged to identify the candidate targets for LH against COVID-19. Gene ontology and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway analysis were carried out. The gene-pathway network was constructed to screen the crucial target genes. The functional annotations of target genes were found to be related to immune regulation, host defense, inflammatory reaction and autoimmune diseases and so on. Twenty pathways including immunology, cancer, and cell processing were significantly enriched. Quercetin and luteolin might be the crucial ingredients. IL6 was the core gene and other several genes including IL1B, STAT1, IFNGR1, and NCF1 were the key genes in the gene-pathway network of LH for treatment of COVID-19. The results indicated that LH’s effects against COVID-19 might relate to regulation of immunological function through the specific biological processes and the related pathways. This study demonstrates the application of network pharmacology in evaluating mechanisms of action and molecular targets of complex herbal formulations.


Lianhuaqingwen; TCM; Network pharmacology
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