Systems Pharmacology Dissection of the Integrated Treatment for Cardiovascular and Gastrointestinal Disorders by Traditional Chinese Medicine

Sci Rep. 2016 Sep 6;6:32400. doi: 10.1038/srep32400.


Though cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and gastrointestinal disorders (GIDs) are different diseases associated with different organs, they are highly correlated clinically. Importantly, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), similar treatment strategies have been applied in both diseases. However, the etiological mechanisms underlying them remain unclear. Here, an integrated systems pharmacology approach is presented for illustrating the molecular correlations between CVDs and GIDs. Firstly, we identified pairs of genes that are associated with CVDs and GIDs and found that these genes are functionally related. Then, the association between 115 heart meridian (HM) herbs and 163 stomach meridian (SM) herbs and their combination application in Chinese patent medicine was investigated, implying that both CVDs and GIDs can be treated by the same strategy. Exemplified by a classical formula Sanhe Decoration (SHD) treating chronic gastritis, we applied systems-based analysis to introduce a drug-target-pathway-organ network that clarifies mechanisms of different diseases being treated by the same strategy. The results indicate that SHD regulated several pathological processes involved in both CVDs and GIDs. We experimentally confirmed the predictions implied by the effect of SHD for myocardial ischemia. The systems pharmacology suggests a novel integrated strategy for rational drug development for complex associated diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / genetics
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / pathology
  • Cardiovascular System / drug effects
  • Cardiovascular System / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular System / pathology
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / chemistry
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / metabolism
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / genetics
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / pathology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / drug effects
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / pathology
  • Humans
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional / methods*
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy / methods*
  • Pharmacology / methods*
  • Protein Interaction Mapping
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Systems Biology / methods*


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal