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Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Pharmacol. | doi: 10.3389/fphar.2019.00158

Emerging Applications of Metabolomics in Traditional Chinese Medicine Treating Hypertension: Biomarkers, Pathways and More

  • 1School of Chinese Medicine, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Hypertension is a prevalent, complex and polygenic cardiovascular disease, which is associated with increased mortality and morbidity. Across the world, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) constituted by herbal medicine and non-pharmacological therapies is used to assist blood pressure management. Though widely accepted in daily practice, its mechanism remains largely unknown. Recent years saw a number of studies utilizing metabolomics technologies to elucidate the biological foundation of the antihypertensive effect of TCM. Metabolomics is a relatively ‘young’ omics approach that has gained enormous attention recently in cardiovascular drug discovery and pharmacology studies of natural products. In this review, we described the use of metabolomics in deciphering TCM diagnostic codes for hypertension and in revealing molecular events that drive the antihypertensive effect. By corroborating the diagnostic rules, there’s accumulating evidence showing that metabolic profile could be the signature of different syndromes/patterns of hypertension, which offers new perspectives for disease diagnosis and efficacy optimization. Moreover, TCM treatment significantly altered the metabolic perturbations associated with hypertension, which could be a crucial mechanism of the therapeutic effect of TCM. Not only significantly rebalances the dynamics of metabolic flux, TCM but also elicits metabolic network reorganization through restoring the functions of key metabolites, and metabolic pathways. The role of TCM in regulating metabolic perturbations will be informative to researchers seeking new leads for drug discovery. This review further envisioned the promises of employing metabolomics to explore network pharmacology, host-gut microbiota interactions and metabolic reprogramming in TCM, and possible herb-drug interactions in this field in future.

Keywords: Traditional Chinese Medicine, Metabolomics, Hypertension, Metabolic Regulation, Metabolome

Received: 16 Aug 2018; Accepted: 11 Feb 2019.

Edited by:

Xijun Wang, National TCM Key Laboratory of Serum Pharmacochemistry, Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine, China

Reviewed by:

Geng Wenye, Fudan University, China
Yong Tan, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, China  

Copyright: © 2019 Yang and Lao. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Lixing Lao, The University of Hong Kong, School of Chinese Medicine, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, lxlao1@hku.hk