Journal of Chinese Pharmaceutical Sciences ›› 2023, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (5): 379-391.DOI: 10.5246/jcps.2023.05.032

• Original articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A network pharmacology approach to explore the pharmacological mechanism of Epimedium brevicornum in sexual dysfunction

Guangzhi Shen1, Xingang Cui2, Zhimin Na3, Yulong Zou4,*(), Guihua Zou1,*()   

  1. 1 School of Pharmacy, Mudanjiang Medical University, Mudanjiang 157011, Heilongjiang, China
    2 School of Public Health, Mudanjiang Medical University, Mudanjiang 157011, Heilongjiang, China
    3 Respiratory department of Mudanjiang first people’s Hospital, Mudanjiang 157011, Heilongjiang, China
    4 Mudanjiang Medical University Affiliated Hongqi Hospital, Mudanjiang 157011, Heilongjiang, China
  • Received:2022-10-28 Revised:2022-11-15 Accepted:2022-12-18 Online:2023-06-02 Published:2023-06-02
  • Contact: Yulong Zou, Guihua Zou


Network pharmacology is a research method for designing multi-target drug molecules based on the theory of systems biology and network analysis of biological systems by selecting specific signal nodes to show the multi-component and multi-target attributes of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). In the present study, we predicted the mechanism of Epimedium brevicornum (EB) in the treatment of sexual dysfunction (SD) using network pharmacology. Moreover, chemical constituents of EB were queried using the Traditional Chinese Medicine Systems Pharmacology (TCMSP) server, and the targets related to SD were obtained using Genecards and Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM). An intersection of genes was discovered. Subsequently, protein-protein interaction (PPI) networks were constructed with Cytoscape 3.7.1 software and the STRING database. Additionally, Gene Ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway analyses were performed using WebGestalt. A total of 21 active drug ingredients were identified in the TCMSP database. Besides, 1003 disease targets from the GeneCards and OMIM databases were screened. Furthermore, 67 common targets for drugs and diseases were obtained using the Venny online tools. The results of this study preliminarily verified the basic pharmacological activity of EB in the treatment of SD, laying a foundation for elucidating its mechanism of action.

Key words: Epimedium brevicornum, Network pharmacology, Sexual dysfunctions, Component-target