As an important part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Chinese Herbal Compound (CHC) is paid more and more attention nowadays. The elucidation of CHC action mechanisms becomes the key problem of how to further develop the TCM and find new novel drugs. Compound prescription is a complex system originating in China that accumulated enormous effective experiences in the thousands of years of its practice. It is very difficult to explain the effectiveness of CHC just using traditional pharmacological methods due to its extremely complex composition, uncertain action mechanism, and too many acting targets. The rapid development of molecular biology and genetics makes it possible to study the mechanism of TCM compounds at the cellular and molecular level. In the past, research of CHC on the organism level has achieved remarkable results. This paper reviews some progresses on the relevant action mechanisms of CHC at molecular level. Recent studies have shown that CHC may play an important role on interfering cell signal transduction pathways, such as apoptosis in tumor cells and regulating the expression of disease-related genes. Further studies should be conducted on its active components by detecting the disease-related genes and drug responsive genes through biochip technology.
Keywords: Chinese herbal compound, Traditional Chinese medicine, Molecular biology, Cell, Gene, Proteomics
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