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Study on the Mechanism of the Danggui–Chuanxiong Herb Pair on Treating Thrombus through Network Pharmacology and Zebrafish Models

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journal contribution
posted on 25.05.2021, 20:15 by Mengqi Zhang, Peihai Li, Shanshan Zhang, Xuanming Zhang, Lizhen Wang, Yun Zhang, Xiaobin Li, Kechun Liu
Danggui–Chuanxiong (DC) is a commonly used nourishing and activating blood medicine pair in many gynecological prescriptions and modern Chinese medicine. However, its activating blood mechanism has not been clearly elucidated. Our research aimed at investigating the activating blood mechanisms of DC using network pharmacology and zebrafish experiments. Network pharmacology was used to excavate the potential targets and mechanisms of DC in treating thrombus. The antithrombotic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and vasculogenesis activities of DC and the main components of DC, ferulic acid (DC2), ligustilide (DC7), and levistilide A (DC17), were evaluated by zebrafish models in vivo. A total of 24 compounds were selected as the active ingredients with favorable pharmacological parameters for this herb pair. A total of 89 targets and 18 pathways related to the thrombus process were gathered for active compounds. The genes, TNF, CXCR4, IL2, ESR1, FGF2, HIF1A, CXCL8, AR, FOS, MMP2, MMP9, STAT3, and RHOA, might be the main targets for this herb pair to exert cardiovascular activity from the analysis of protein–protein interaction and KEGG pathway results, which were mainly related to inflammation, vasculogenesis, immunity, hormones, and so forth. The zebrafish experiment results showed that DC had antithrombotic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and vasculogenesis activities. The main compounds had different effects of zebrafish activities. Especially, the antithrombotic activity of the DC17H group, anti-inflammatory activities of DCH and DC2H groups, antioxidant activities of DCM, DCH, DC2, DC7, and DC17 groups, and vasculogenesis activities of DCM, DCH, and DC2 groups were stronger than those of the positive group. The integrated method coupled zebrafish models with network pharmacology provided the insights into the mechanisms of DC in treating thrombus.