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

Front. Pharmacol. | doi: 10.3389/fphar.2019.01132

Closing the Gap between Therapeutic Use and Mode of Action in Remedial Herbs

  • 1Mar Institute of Medical Research (IMIM), Spain
  • 2Fundació Institut Mar d'Investigacions Mèdiques (IMIM), Spain
  • 3Department of Experimental and Health Sciences, Pompeu Fabra University, Spain

The ancient tradition of taking parts of a plant or preparing plant extracts for treating certain discomforts and maladies has long been lacking a scientific rationale to support its preparation and still widespread use in several parts of the world. In an attempt to address this challenge, we collected and integrated data connecting metabolites, plants, diseases, and proteins. A mechanistic hypothesis is generated when a metabolite is known to be present in a given plant, that plant is known to be used to treat a certain disease, that disease is known to be linked to the function of a given protein, and that protein is finally known or predicted to interact with the original metabolite. The construction of plant-protein networks from mutually connected metabolites and diseases facilitated the identification of plausible mechanisms of action for plants being used to treat analgesia, hypercholesterolemia, diarrhea, catarrh, and cough. Additional concrete examples using both experimentally known and computationally predicted, and subsequently experimentally confirmed, metabolite-protein interactions to close the connection circle between metabolites, plants, diseases, and proteins offered further proof of concept for the validity and scope of the approach to generate mode of action hypotheses for some of the therapeutic uses of remedial herbs.

Keywords: Ethnopharmacology, mechanism of action (MOA), Network Pharmacology, prospective analyses, data integration and computational methods

Received: 01 Mar 2019; Accepted: 30 Aug 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Olivés and Mestres. 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: Dr. Jordi Mestres, Fundació Institut Mar d'Investigacions Mèdiques (IMIM), Barcelona, 08003, Catalonia, Spain, jmestres@imim.es