Bioinformatical and biochemical analyses on the protective role of traditional Chinese medicine against age-related macular degeneration

Yanqun Cao, Xiao-Ya Li , Gabriel Mbuta Tchivelekete, Xing Li, Xinzhi Zhou, Zhiming He, James Reilly, Zhoujin Tan*, Xinhua Shu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the commonest cause of permanent vision loss in the elderly. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has long been used to treat AMD, although the underlying functional mechanisms are not understood. This study aims to predict the active ingredients through screening the chemical ingredients of anti-AMD Decoction and to elucidate the underlying mechanisms.
Methods: We collected the prescriptions for effective AMD treatment with traditional Chinese medicine and screened several Chinese medicines that were used most frequently in order to compose "anti-AMD decoction". The pharmacologically active ingredients and corresponding targets in this anti-AMD decoction were mined using the Traditional Chinese Medicine Systems Pharmacology (TCMSP) database. Subsequently, the AMD-related targets were identified through the GeneCards database. Network pharmacology was performed to construct the visual network of anti-AMD Decoction-AMD protein-protein interaction (PPI). Further, the Autodock software was adopted for molecular docking on the core active ingredients and core targets. The function of core ingredients against oxidative stress and inflammation in retinal pigment epithelial cells was assessed using biochemical assays.
Results: We screened out 268 active ingredients in anti-AMD Decoction corresponding to 258 ingredient targets, combined with 2160 disease targets in AMD, and obtained 129 drug-disease common targets. The key core proteins were predominantly involved in inflammation. Furthermore, molecular docking showed that four potential active ingredients (Quercetin, luteolin, naringenin and hederagenin) had good affinity with the core proteins, IL6, TNF and MAPK3. Quercetin, luteolin and naringenin demonstrated capacities against oxidative stress and inflammation in human retinal pigment epithelial cells.
Conclusions: The data suggests that anti-AMD Decoction has multiple functional components and targets in treating AMD, possibly mediated by suppression of oxidative stress and inflammation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Eye Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 27 Jul 2022


  • age-related macular degeneration (AMD); anti-AMD Decoction; network pharmacology; oxidative stress; inflammation


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