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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 372670, 13 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/372670
Review Article

Systems Biology of Meridians, Acupoints, and Chinese Herbs in Disease

1Department of Life Science, National Taiwan University, No. 1, Section 4, Roosevelt Road, Taipei 106, Taiwan
2Graduate Institute of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei 100, Taiwan
3Department of Bioenvironmental Systems Engineering, National Taiwan University, Taipei 106, Taiwan
4Institute of Biochemical Sciences, National Taiwan University, Taipei 106, Taiwan
5Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology, National Taiwan University, No. 1, Section 4, Roosevelt Road, Taipei 106, Taiwan
6Department of Biochemical Science and Technology, National Taiwan University, Taipei 106, Taiwan
7Graduate Institute of Biomedical Electronic and Bioinformatics, National Taiwan University, No. 1, Section 4, Roosevelt Road, Taipei 106, Taiwan

Received 2 August 2012; Accepted 26 September 2012

Academic Editor: Wolfgang Schwarz

Copyright © 2012 Li-Ling Lin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Meridians, acupoints, and Chinese herbs are important components of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). They have been used for disease treatment and prevention and as alternative and complementary therapies. Systems biology integrates omics data, such as transcriptional, proteomic, and metabolomics data, in order to obtain a more global and complete picture of biological activity. To further understand the existence and functions of the three components above, we reviewed relevant research in the systems biology literature and found many recent studies that indicate the value of acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Acupuncture is useful in pain moderation and relieves various symptoms arising from acute spinal cord injury and acute ischemic stroke. Moreover, Chinese herbal extracts have been linked to wound repair, the alleviation of postmenopausal osteoporosis severity, and anti-tumor effects, among others. Different acupoints, variations in treatment duration, and herbal extracts can be used to alleviate various symptoms and conditions and to regulate biological pathways by altering gene and protein expression. Our paper demonstrates how systems biology has helped to establish a platform for investigating the efficacy of TCM in treating different diseases and improving treatment strategies.