Objectives: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) applied in the clinic as a complementary and alternative therapy has helped improve immunity and reduce side effects and symptomatic treatment in patients with HIV/AIDS. However, the mechanisms of TCM syndromes are not clear. Transcriptomics enables the study of such TCM syndromes.
Design: This study compared the messenger RNA (mRNA) expressions of healthy persons and patients with HIV/AIDS who had two common TCM syndromes, qi-yin deficiency and dampness-heat retention, to find the difference in HIV/AIDS with TCM syndromes.
Results: Comparison with healthy persons identified 113 mRNAs-41 enhanced and 72 decreased-in the qi-yin deficiency group. Additionally, 76 mRNAs were found in the dampness-heat retention group: 14 increased and 62 decreased. Functional genetic analysis of the mRNAs indicated that two TCM syndromes were correlated with cell apoptosis, immunoinflammatory responses, and lymphocyte activation. Differentially expressed mRNAs in the qi-yin deficiency group were obviously associated with cellular activity, communication, protein localization, cellular ion homeostasis, and regulation of cell motion, whereas mRNAs in the dampness-heat retention group were associated with sequence-specific DNA binding, cellular response to stress, and hemopoietic or lymphoid organ development.
Conclusions: These results suggest that the formation of different TCM syndromes in patients with HIV/AIDS were founded on biological transcriptomics, which reveal mechanisms of the formation of these syndromes in HIV/AIDS. Differentially expressed mRNAs in two TCM syndrome groups tended to normalize after TCM intervention, which indicates that TCM might remit symptoms by changing genetic expression.
Keywords: AIDS; HIV; TCM syndromes; dampness-heat retention syndrome; differentially expressed genes; qi-yin deficiency syndrome.