Multi-pathway cellular analysis on crude natural drugs/herbs from Japanese Kampo formulations

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Kampo formulations comprise a number of crude natural drugs/herbs as constituents. The crude drugs/herbs have been traditionally classified by their traditional classifications or efficacies in Kampo medicines; however, it has been difficult to establish the scientific link between experimental evidence and traditional classifications in Kampo medicine. To clarify such traditional conceptions, we tested 112 crude drugs/herbs that are major components of Kampo formulations, in the multi-pathway analysis of 10 well-studied transcriptional activities including CREB, ERSF, HIF-1α, IRFs, MYC, NF-κB, p53, SMAD, SOX2, and TCF/LEF in A549 human lung cancer cells. By clustering the results of multi-pathway analysis with the Spearman rank-correlation coefficient and Ward linkage, three distinct traditional categories were significantly enriched in the major groupings, which are heat-clearing and dampness-drying herbs, acrid and warm exterior-resolving herbs, and acrid and cool exterior-resolving herbs. These results indicate that these crude drugs/herbs have similar effects on intracellular signaling and further imply that the traditional classifications of those enriched crude drugs/herbs can be supported by such experimental evidence. Collectively, our new in vitro multi-pathway analysis may be useful to clarify the mechanism of action of crude drugs/herbs and Kampo formulations.


  • PLoS ONE

    PLoS ONE 10(6), 2015-06

    Public Library of Science


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