Network pharmacology-based study of the protective mechanism of conciliatory anti-allergic decoction on asthma

Allergol Immunopathol (Madr). Sep-Oct 2020;48(5):441-449. doi: 10.1016/j.aller.2019.12.011. Epub 2020 Apr 28.


Background: This study aimed to explore the underlying anti-asthma pharmacological mechanisms of conciliatory anti-allergic decoction (CAD) with a network pharmacology approach.

Methods: Traditional Chinese medicine related databases were utilized to screen the active ingredients of CAD. Targets of CAD for asthma treatment were also identified based on related databases. The protein-protein interaction network, biological function and KEGG pathway enrichment analysis, and molecular docking of the targets were performed. Furthermore, an asthma mouse model experiment involving HE staining, AB-PAS staining, and ELISA was also performed to assess the anti-asthma effect of CAD.

Results: There were 77 active ingredients in CAD, including quercetin, kaempferol, stigmasterol, luteolin, cryptotanshinone, beta-sitosterol, acacetin, naringenin, baicalin, and 48 related targets for asthma treatment, mainly including TNF, IL4, IL5, IL10, IL13 and IFN-γ, were identified with ideal molecular docking binding scores by network pharmacology analysis. KEGG pathway analysis revealed that these targets were directly involved in the asthma pathway, Th1 and Th2 cell differentiation, and signaling pathways correlated with asthma (NF-κB, IL17, T cell receptor, TNF, JAK-STAT signaling pathways, etc.). Animal experiments also confirmed that CAD could attenuate inflammatory cell invasion, goblet cell hyperplasia and mucus secretion. The levels of the major targets TNF-α, IL4, IL5, and IL13 can also be regulated by CAD in an asthma mouse model.

Conclusion: The anti-asthma mechanism of CAD possibly stemmed from the active ingredients targeting asthma-related targets, which are involved in the asthma pathway and signaling pathways to exhibit therapeutic effects.

Keywords: Active ingredients; Asthma; Conciliatory anti-allergic decoction; Pathways; Pro-inflammatory cytokines; Targets.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Allergic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Allergic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Asthma / genetics
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology*
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use
  • Gene Regulatory Networks / drug effects
  • Gene Regulatory Networks / immunology
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Molecular Docking Simulation
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy / methods
  • Ovalbumin / administration & dosage
  • Ovalbumin / immunology
  • Protein Interaction Maps / drug effects
  • Protein Interaction Maps / genetics
  • Protein Interaction Maps / immunology
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / immunology


  • Anti-Allergic Agents
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Ovalbumin