Abstract: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) involves a broad range of empirical testing and refinement and plays an important role in the health maintenance for people all over the world. However, due to the complexity of Chinese herbs, a full understanding of TCM’s action mechanisms is still unavailable despite plenty of successful applications of TCM in the treatment of various diseases, including especially cardiovascular diseases (CVD), one of the leading causes of death. Thus in the present work, by incorporating the chemical predictors, target predictors and network construction approaches, an integrated system of TCM has been constructed to systematically uncover the underlying action mechanisms of TCM. From three representative Chinese herbs, i.e., Ligusticum chuanxiong Hort., Dalbergia odorifera T. Chen and Corydalis yanhusuo WT Wang which have been widely used in CVD treatment, by combinational use of drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion (ADME) screening and network pharmacology techniques, we have generated 64 bioactive ingredients and identified 54 protein targets closely associated with CVD, of which 29 are common targets (52.7%) of the three herbs. The result provides new information on the efficiency of the Chinese herbs for the treatment of CVD and also explains one of the basic theories of TCM, i.e., “multiple herbal drugs can treat one disease”. The predicted potential targets were then mapped to target-disease and target-signal pathway connections, which revealed the relationships of the active ingredients with their potential targets, diseases and signal systems. This means that for the first time, the action mechanism of these three important Chinese herbs for the treatment of CVD is uncovered, by generating and identifying both their active ingredients and novel targets specifically related to CVD, which clarifies some of the common conceptions in TCM, and thus provides clues to modernize such specific herbal medicines.
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Li, B.; Xu, X.; Wang, X.; Yu, H.; Li, X.; Tao, W.; Wang, Y.; Yang, L. A Systems Biology Approach to Understanding the Mechanisms of Action of Chinese Herbs for Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13, 13501-13520.
Li B, Xu X, Wang X, Yu H, Li X, Tao W, Wang Y, Yang L. A Systems Biology Approach to Understanding the Mechanisms of Action of Chinese Herbs for Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2012; 13(10):13501-13520.
Li, Bohui; Xu, Xue; Wang, Xia; Yu, Hua; Li, Xiuxiu; Tao, Weiyang; Wang, Yonghua; Yang, Ling. 2012. "A Systems Biology Approach to Understanding the Mechanisms of Action of Chinese Herbs for Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease." Int. J. Mol. Sci. 13, no. 10: 13501-13520.