Study analyzes Zhichan powder in treatment of Parkinson's disease

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A network pharmacology analysis of Zhichan powder shows promise in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, according to new research published in the journal Combinatorial Chemistry & High Throughput Screening.

Zhichan is a Chinese herb known for its medicinal properties. Previous research has documented its ability to regulate the expression of monoamine oxidase B and tyrosine hydroxylase in the substantia nigra of Parkinson’s disease model rats.

Jiajun Chen, PhD, lead author of the study, conducted a systematic analysis of the effects of Zhichan powder for Parkinson’s treatment. To achieve this, the team used the Traditional Chinese Medicine Systems Pharmacology database to screen for active compounds against Parkinson’s disease, and established a medicine-target-disease network model with computational network pharmacology.

Parkinson's disease is a debilitating neurodegenerative disorder, which is characterized by the degradation and subsequent loss in activity of the motor nerve system in the body. The disease is incurable, and patients also tend exhibit nonmotor function disabilities as the disease progresses. Current treatment modalities often focus on improving the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease after its onset.

The researchers identified 18 major active components in Zhichan powder through the screening method. The medicine-target-disease system of Zhichan powder established by the network pharmacology method permitted the researchers to visualize clusters and differences among chemical components in this specific herb, as well as the complex mechanism of molecular activities among those effective components, relevant targets, pathways, and Parkinson’s disease.

Chen said he believes there is strong evidence for a connection between chemical components of the herb and Parkinson's disease-related targets.