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Data Mining-Based Analysis of Chinese Medicinal Herb Formulae in Chronic Kidney Disease Treatment
Background. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has long been used to treat chronic kidney disease (CKD) in Asia. Its effectiveness and safety for CKD treatment have been confirmed in documented studies. However, the prescription rule of formulae for Chinese medicinal herbs is complicated and remains uncharacterized. Thus, we used data mining technology to evaluate the treatment principle and coprescription pattern of these formulae in CKD TCM treatment. Methods. Data on patients with CKD were obtained from the outpatient system of a TCM hospital. We established a Chinese herb knowledge base based on the Chinese Pharmacopoeia and the Chinese Materia Medica. Then, following extraction of prescription information, we deweighted and standardized each prescribed herb according to the knowledge base to establish a database of CKD treatment formulae. We analyzed the frequency with which individual herbs were prescribed, as well as their properties, tastes, meridian tropisms, and categories. Then, we evaluated coprescription patterns and assessed medication rules by performing association rule learning, cluster analysis, and complex network analysis. Results. We retrospectively analyzed 299 prescriptions of 166 patients with CKD receiving TCM treatment. The most frequently prescribed core herbs for CKD treatment were Rhizoma Dioscoreae (Shanyao), Spreading Hedyotis Herb (Baihuasheshecao), Root of Snow of June (Baimagu), Radix Astragali (Huangqi), Poria (Fulin), Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae (Baizhu), Radix Pseudostellariae (Taizishen), and Fructus Corni (Shanzhuyu). The TCM properties of the herbs were mainly being warm, mild, and cold. The tastes of the herbs were mainly sweet, followed by bitter. The main meridian tropisms were Spleen Meridian of Foot-Taiyin, Liver Meridian of Foot-Jueyi, Lung Meridian of Hand-Taiyin, Stomach Meridian of Foot-Yangming, and Kidney Meridian of Foot-Shaoyin. The top three categories were deficiency-tonifying, heat-clearing, and dampness-draining diuretic. Conclusion. Using an integrated analysis method, we confirmed that the primary TCM pathogeneses of kidney disease were deficiency and dampness-heat. The primary treatment principles were tonifying deficiency and eliminating dampness-heat.
The Impact of Natural Product Dietary Supplements on Patients with Gout: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials
Natural product dietary supplements (NPDS) are frequently used for the treatment of gout, but reliable efficacy and safety data are generally lacking or not well organized to guide clinical decision making. This review aims to explore the impacts of NPDS for patients with gout. An electronic literature search was conducted to retrieve data published in English language from databases from inception to August 14, 2019. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that compared NPDS with or without placebo, diet modification, conventional pharmaceutics, or the other Chinese medicine treatment for gout patients were included. Two authors screened the articles, extracted the data, and assessed the risk of bias of each included trial independently. Meta-analysis was performed using Review Manager version 5.3.5. Results. Nine RCTS were enrolled in this review. The methodological quality of the nine RCTs was poor. The study results showed that in the majority of trials, NPDS demonstrated some degree of therapeutic efficacy for joint swelling, pain, and activity limitation. In contradistinction, serum uric acid (SUA) level (SMD −1.80, 95% CI: −4.45 to 0.86) () and CRP levels (N = 232; SMD, −0.26; 95% CI, −0.55 to 0.04) () did not improve significantly. The incidence of adverse events (AEs) was not lower in the participants treated with NPDS (N = 750; RR, 0.47; 95% CI, 0.20–1.11) (). Conclusion. Current existing evidence is not sufficient to provide clinical guidance regarding the efficacy and safety of NPDS as a treatment for gout due to poor trial quality and lack of standardized evaluation criteria. Larger and more rigorously designed RCTs are needed in the future.
The Active Compounds of Yixin Ningshen Tablet and Their Potential Action Mechanism in Treating Coronary Heart Disease- A Network Pharmacology and Proteomics Approach
Yixin Ningshen tablet is a CFDA-approved TCM formula for treating coronary heart disease (CHD) clinically. However, its active compounds and mechanism of action in treating CHD are unknown. In this study, a novel strategy with the combination of network pharmacology and proteomics was proposed to identify the active components of Yixin Ningshen tablet and the mechanism by which they treat CHD. With the application of network pharmacology, 62 active compounds in Yixin Ningshen tablet were screened out by text mining, and their 313 potential target proteins were identified by a tool in SwissTargetPrediction. These data were integrated with known CHD-related proteomics results to predict the most possible targets, which reduced the 313 potential target proteins to 218. The STRING database was retrieved to find the enriched pathways and related diseases of these target proteins, which indicated that the Calcium, MAPK, PI3K-Akt, cAMP, Rap1, AGE-RAGE, Relaxin, HIF-1, Prolactin, Sphingolipid, Estrogen, IL-17, Jak-STAT signaling pathway, necroptosis, arachidonic acid metabolism, insulin resistance, endocrine resistance, and steroid hormone biosynthesis might be the main pathways regulated by Yixin Ningshen tablet for the treatment of CHD. Through further enrichment analysis and literature study, EGFR, ERBB2, VGFR2, FGF1, ESR1, LOX15, PGH2, HMDH, ADRB1, and ADRB2 were selected and then validated to be the target proteins of Yixin Ningshen tablet by molecular docking, which indicated that Yixin Ningshen tablet might treat CHD mainly through promoting heart regeneration, new vessels’ formation, and the blood supply of the myocardial region and reducing cardiac output, oxygen demand, and inflammation as well as arteriosclerosis (promoting vasodilation and intraplaque neoangiogenesis, lowering blood lipid). This study is expected to benefit the clinical application of Yixin Ningshen tablet for the treatment of CHD.
Electroacupuncture and Moxibustion Regulate Hippocampus Glia and Mitochondria Activation in DSS-Induced Colitis Mice
Objectives. To study the influence of electroacupuncture (EA) and moxibustion on the hippocampus astrocyte and microglia activation in the ulcerative colitis model and to evaluate the mitochondria activity. Methods. 2.5% dextran sodium sulfate-induced colitis mice were treated by EA or moxibustion. Intestinal pathological structure was observed by hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining; the expression of GFAP or S100b (markers for astrocyte), Iba-1 (a marker for microglia), and Mitofilin (a marker for mitochondria) in hippocampus was detected by immunofluorescence staining or western blot. Results. The results demonstrated that both EA and moxibustion could improve the morphology of distal colonic mucosal epithelia in DSS-induced colitis mice. Expression of GFAP in the hippocampus was significantly increased after EA or moxibustion treatment. The effects were further supported by WB results. Meanwhile, expression of mitofilin in the hippocampus CA1 and CA3 regions showed the same trend as that of GFAP. Expression of Iba-1 in the hippocampus showed no significant difference after EA or moxibustion treatment, while the state of microglia changed from resting in control mice to activated state in colitis mice. Conclusion. EA and moxibustion were able to modulate the activation of astrocyte, microglial, and mitochondria in the hippocampus area in the colitis model.
Use of Mustard Seed Footbaths for Respiratory Tract Infections: A Pilot Study
Objective. Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) are the most commonly treated acute problems in general practice. Instead of treatment with antibiotics, therapies from the field of integrative medicine play an increasingly important role within the society. The aim of the study was to evaluate whether mustard footbaths improve the symptoms of patients with RTIs. Methods. The study was designed as a pilot study and was carried out as an interventional trial with two points of measurement. Between November and December 2017, six practices were invited to participate. Two of them participated in the study. Patients were included who presented with an RTI at one of the involved primary care practices during February and April 2018. Participants in the intervention group used self-administered mustard seed powder footbaths at home once a day, to be repeated for six consecutive days. The improvement of symptoms was measured using the “Herdecke Warmth Perception Questionnaire” (HeWEF). A variance analysis for repeated measurements was performed to analyse differences between the intervention and control groups. Results. In this pilot study, 103 patients were included in the intervention group and 36 patients were included in the control group. A comparison of the intervention and control group before the intervention started showed nearly no difference in their subjective perception of warmth measured by the HeWEF questionnaire. Participants of the intervention group who used mustard seed footbaths for six consecutive days showed an improvement in four of the five subscales of the HeWEF questionnaire. Conclusions. This study could provide a first insight into a possible strategy to improve symptoms regarding RTI by using mustard seed footbaths.
Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry-Based Plasma Metabolomics Study of the Effects of Moxibustion with Seed-Sized Moxa Cone on Hyperlipidemia
Hyperlipidemia (HLP) is a disorder with disturbed lipid metabolism. HLP is a major risk factor in cardiovascular diseases, atherosclerosis, diabetes mellitus, and coronary heart disease. This study focuses on understanding the effects of moxibustion with a seed-sized moxa cone on HLP and the potential metabolic pathways associated with HLP. An automatic analyzer was used to measure the levels of total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TG), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) in healthy controls (HCs), HLP patients, and in patients before moxibustion with seed-sized moxa cone treatment (BMT) and after moxibustion treatment (AMT). Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and pathway analyses were performed using differential plasma metabolites derived from the HC, HLP, BMT, and AMT groups. Higher levels of TC, TG, and LDL-C and lower levels of HDL-C were detected in HLP patients than in HCs. The levels of TC and TG were significantly decreased in the AMT group compared to those of the BMT group. A total of 87 differential metabolites were identified from the HLP vs HC samples and 51 for the AMT vs BMT samples. Of these, 21 terms were shared. The differential metabolites in both the HLP vs HC and AMT vs BMT groups were significantly enriched in the glycerophospholipid and sphingolipid metabolism pathways. We suggest that moxibustion with seed-sized moxa cone treatment is effective against hyperlipidemia by altering the levels of TC and TG, which might be regulated by glycerophospholipid and sphingolipid metabolism.