At present, high throughput screening (HTS) programs in drug discovery rely mainly on compound libraries from combinational chemistry. Similarly, natural flora has been used as a prominent origin for new and potent herbal drugs. Herbal medicines have been used worldwide for thousands of years to cure many diseases. As such, herbal secondary metabolites show a remarkable structural diversity that supplements chemically synthesized compound analogs in drug discovery screening. Unfortunately, there is often a considerable deterioration in the quality of herbal drugs in such screening programs as there are time-consuming manual processes involved in the isolation of active ingredients from the highly complex mixtures of herbal plant products. The quality and quantity of herbal samples are critical for the success of HTS programs. In the recent past, there have been substantial improvements in HTS due to the miniaturization and integration of microchip (e.g., Herbochip®, DNA chip, protein chip, cell chip, etc.)-based technologies so as to design herbal drugs that compete with synthetic drug analogs. Here we will review various technologies used for HTS of herbal medicines. Finally, we will summarize our efforts to develop a novel chip-based HTS assay to explore the antioxidant and radioprotective properties of herbal plants.
Keywords: High throughput screening, herbal medicines, microarray, DNA chip, medicinal properties, reverse transcriptasepolymerase chain reaction, RT, –, PCR, nuclease protection, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, ELISA, western blot, immunohistochemistry, performance liquid chromatography, differential display PCR, northern blots, quantitative PCR, serial analysis of gene expression, Gene Alignments, Agastache rugosa, Euphorbia lathyris, Euphorbia peklhensis, Quercus acutissima, Terminalia chebula, organic photodiodes, light-emitting diodes, siRNA-transfected cell microarray, daunorubicin, ionomycin, isoliquiritigenin
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