Scientific Reports (2020-11-01)

Uncovering the pharmacological mechanism of the effects of the Banxia-Xiakucao Chinese Herb Pair on sleep disorder by a systems pharmacology approach

  • Jing Guo,
  • Meng-Ping Lou,
  • Lin-Lin Hu,
  • Xin Zhang

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 10, no. 1
pp. 1 – 12


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Abstract Sleep disorder (SD) has a high incidence and seriously affects quality of life, mental health and even the manifestation of physical diseases. The combination of Pinellia ternata (Chinese name: banxia) and Prunella vulgaris (Chinese name: xiakucao), known as the Banxia–Xiakucao Chinese herb pair (BXHP), is a proven Chinese herbal medicine that has been used to treat SD for thousands of years due to its significant clinical effects. However, its active pharmacological components and sedative–hypnotic mechanisms have not been fully elucidated. Thus, the present study used a systematic pharmacological approach to develop pharmacokinetic screens and target predictions via construction of a protein–protein interaction network and annotation database for SD-related and putative BXHP-related targets. Visualization, screening and integrated discovery enrichment analyses were conducted. The BXHP chemical database contains 166 compounds between the two herbal ingredients, and of these, 22 potential active molecules were screened by pharmacokinetic evaluation. The targets of 114 of the active molecules were predicted, and 34 were selected for further analysis. Finally, gene ontology and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway analyses suggested that BXHP can reduce inflammatory responses. and mediate immune-related and central nervous system neurotransmitters via regulation of multiple targets and pathways. The use of a systematic pharmacology-based approach in the present study further elucidated the mechanisms of action underlying BXHP for the treatment of SD from a holistic perspective and sheds light on the systemic mechanisms of action of Chinese herbal medicines in general.