Clarifying the pharmacological mechanisms of action of Shenfu Decoction on cardiovascular diseases using a network pharmacology approach

Drug Discov Ther. 2021 Sep 22;15(4):197-203. doi: 10.5582/ddt.2021.01071. Epub 2021 Aug 31.

Abstract

Since the molecular mechanisms underlying in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are extremely complex and have not yet been elucidated in detail, CVD remain the leading cause of death worldwide. Traditional Chinese medicine involves the treatment of disease from an overall perspective, and its therapeutic effects on CVD have been demonstrated. However, the mechanisms contributing to the multiscale treatment of cardiovascular diseases at the systematic level remain unclear. Network pharmacology methods and a gene chip data analysis were integrated and applied in the present study, which was conducted to investigate the potential target genes and related pathways of Shenfu Decoction (SFD) for the treatment of myocardial injury. The gene chip analysis was initially performed, followed by network pharmacology to identify differentially expressed genes (DEG) and a functional enrichment analysis. Protein-protein networks were constructed and a module analysis was conducted. A network analysis was used to identify the target genes of SFD. Regarding the results obtained, 1134 DEG were identified using the STRING website. The module analysis revealed that nine hub genes exhibited ubiquitin-protein ligase activity. Therefore, SFD significantly alters the expression of ubiquitination-related genes and, thus, plays an important therapeutic role in the treatment of heart failure. In conclusion, hub genes may provide a more detailed understanding of the molecular mechanisms of action of as well as candidate targets for SFD therapy.

Keywords: Cardiovascular diseases; Shenfu Decoction; network pharmacology; traditional Chinese medicine.