Background: Rheum palmatum L. (RpL) is a traditional Chinese medicine commonly
used clinically. However, there was no systematic research to elucidate the mechanisms of RpL acting
Objective: To explore the potential mechanisms against COPD based on network pharmacology.
Methods: The active compounds of RpL were retrieved from TCMSP database, and their corresponding
targets were obtained through TCMSP and STITCH databases. COPD-related targets
were identified from the TTD, GeneCards and MalaCards database. Drug-disease genes were obtained
through intersection analysis, and the correlation between these genes and COPD was analyzed.
After that, a protein-protein interaction network was constructed and enrichment analysis
was performed. Then, key targets were obtained according to the network topology attributes analysis.
Finally, the Auto dock vina 1.1.2 was used for molecular docking to verify the binding ability
between the active compounds and key targets.
Results: There were 8 active compounds and 90 corresponding targets were identified in RpL. A total
of 4502 COPD-related targets were obtained from databases. After cross-analysis, 81 drug-disease
targets were obtained. Drug-disease targets mainly regulated apoptosis and inflammatory responses
and participated in related signal pathways. Besides, 28 key genes were obtained from the
network topology analysis. TP53, TNF, NFKB1, VEGFA, MMP9, and MMP1 were selected to
dock with the compounds. The results of molecular docking showed that the above targets have different
affinities with the 8 active compounds of RpL.
Conclusion: The mechanisms of RpL acting on COPD were mainly related to the regulation of
apoptosis, inflammatory response, and airway remodeling.