A Network Pharmacology to Explore the Mechanism of Calculus Bovis in the Treatment of Ischemic Stroke

Biomed Res Int. 2021 Mar 10;2021:6611018. doi: 10.1155/2021/6611018. eCollection 2021.


Background: Calculus Bovis is a valuable Chinese medicine, which is widely used in the clinical treatment of ischemic stroke. The present study is aimed at investigating its target and the mechanism involved in ischemic stroke treatment by network pharmacology.

Methods: Effective compounds of Calculus Bovis were collected using methods of network pharmacology and using the Bioinformatics Analysis Tool for Molecular Mechanism of Traditional Chinese Medicine (BATMAN-TCM) and the Traditional Chinese Medicine Systems Pharmacology Database and Analysis Platform (TCMSP). Potential compound targets were searched in the TCMSP and SwissTargetPrediction databases. Ischemic stroke-related disease targets were searched in the Drugbank, DisGeNet, OMIM, and TTD databases. These two types of targets were uploaded to the STRING database, and a network of their interaction (PPI) was built with its characteristics calculated, aiming to reveal a number of key targets. Hub genes were selected using a plug-in of the Cytoscape software, and Gene Ontology (GO) biological processes and pathway enrichment analyses of Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) were conducted using the clusterProfiler package of R language.

Results: Among 12 compounds, deoxycorticosterone, methyl cholate, and biliverdin were potentially effective components. A total of 344 Calculus Bovis compound targets and 590 ischemic stroke targets were found with 92 overlapping targets, including hub genes such as TP53, AKT, PIK2CA, MAPK3, MMP9, and MMP2. Biological functions of Calculus Bovis are associated with protein hydrolyzation, phosphorylation of serine/threonine residues of protein substrates, peptide bond hydrolyzation of peptides and proteins, hydrolyzation of intracellular second messengers, antioxidation and reduction, RNA transcription, and other biological processes.

Conclusion: Calculus Bovis may play a role in ischemic stroke by activating PI3K-AKT and MAPK signaling pathways, which are involved in regulating inflammatory response, cell apoptosis, and proliferation.

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants* / administration & dosage
  • Antioxidants* / chemistry
  • Antioxidants* / pharmacokinetics
  • Databases, Protein*
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal* / administration & dosage
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal* / chemistry
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal* / pharmacokinetics
  • Humans
  • Ischemic Stroke* / drug therapy
  • Ischemic Stroke* / metabolism
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional
  • Molecular Docking Simulation*
  • Protein Interaction Maps*


  • Antioxidants
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal