Parkinson's disease (PD) is a debilitating neurodegenerative disorder which is characterized by the degradation and subsequent loss in activity of the motor nerve system in the body. The disease is incurable and patients also tend exhibit non motor function disabilities as the disease progresses. Current treatment modalities often focus on improving the symptoms of PD after its onset.
Zhichan is a Chinese herb which has been used for its medicinal properties to treat patients suffering from PD. Zhichan's beneficial effects have been attributed to its ability to regulate the expression of monoamine oxidase B and tyrosine hydroxylase in the substantia nigra of PD model rats has been documented. Dr. Jiajun Chen, at the Department of Neurology, China-Japan Union Hospital of Jilin University, Jilin, is at the forefront of research on Zhichan. Dr Chen's team has recently conducted a systematic analysis of the effects of Zhichan powder for PD treatment. To achieve this, the team used the Traditional Chinese Medicine Systems Pharmacology database to screen for active compounds against PD, and established a medicine-target-disease network model with computational network pharmacology.
"We identified 18 major active components in Zhichan powder through the screening method," says Dr. Chen. He believes that this is strong evidence for a connection between chemical components of this Traditional Chinese Medicine and Parkinson's disease-related targets.
The medicine-target-disease system of Zhichan powder established by the network pharmacology method permitted the researchers to visualize clusters and differences among chemical components in this specific herb, as well as the complex mechanism of molecular activities among those effective components, relevant targets, pathways, and PD. "Our results provide a new perspective and method for revealing the mechanism of action of Traditional Chinese Medicine prescriptions," Dr. Chen notes.
The team has published the screening results of bioactive compounds from Zhichan powder in Combinatorial Chemistry & High Throughput Screening.
Keywords: Parkinson's disease, network pharmacology, traditional chinese medicine, Zhichan powder, data mining, mechanism.
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