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Abstract Systems biology is a new science of the 21st century, which resembles traditional Chinese medicine TCM in many aspects such as study method and design. Adoption of systems biology approach would do much help for exploring the scientific connotation of TCM syndrome and the modernization of Chinese herbal medicine. Its technological platforms, such as genomics, proteomics and metabonomics, provide powerful tools for the study of the essence of TCM syndrome and the function of herbal compound recipe.

Compared with other molecular biological methods, such as genomics and proteomics, metabonomics method is more direct and more concise, especially for providing an effective method for the study of TCM therapy in preventing and treating kidney diseases.

Traditional Systems Biology | International Center for Integrative Systems

Read Article at publisher's site. How does Europe PMC derive its citations network? These results suggested that TCM syndrome classification possesses molecular substantial basis. It includes the analysis of whole protein of genome expression. Proteomics also has homoplasy with the complete concept of TCM [13].

It is the recognition of TCM to life under wholism thought. Some researchers presume that the whole genome information is the integrated appearance of "essence" concept in TCM [14]. Proteome rather than single protein participates in the reaction of the body. Proteome is evolved from genome, and genome produced serious of proteins, which attend the body reaction based on different environment and time stress. It was shown that compared with normal people, in the plasma of patients, 3 protein spots were up-regulated, whereas 6 protein spots were down-regulated.

Xie et al. The results indicated that compared with control group, 13 protein spots expressed differently in the rats with noxious heat blood stasis syndrome and 2 appeared in low expression level, whereas 11 appeared in high expression level. Tan et al. Quantitative and qualitative analysis of proteins are performed by proteomics based on the fact that proteins are regarded as the substance basis for the regularity research of syndromes.

Estimation of the regularity will be of great significance for understanding the clinical essence of syndromes and dialectical standardization. Liang Hengstudied that differences in expression levels were 2 times greater than [20]; they found that the fructus corni caused distinct changes of difference protein maps of kidney tissues of IgA nephropathy rat.

Zeng-Chun MA et al. Thus, study of mechanism of prescription may achieve enormous progress through multilink and multitarget research using protein expression as index as well as protein-mediated modification and function modification as direction [25]. Metabonome is used to evaluate the functional status and the dynamic change of the body by analyzing the quality and quantity Li Qing-ya et al.

How to Bridge Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine

The premonitions of certain diseases have been concluded by medical scientists in Chinese ancient time such as patients will feel vertigo, numbness of thumb and second finger, as well as muscle cramp before the occurrence of stroke. However, there are still many diseases for which premonitions have not been concluded. In metabolomics, by investigating varieties and quantities of the endogenous metabolism from the stage of premonitions to disease occurrence, scientific evidence of judgments before disease can be obtained, which is beneficial for the estimation of disease and the evaluation of the estimation [29].

Brindle et al. In addition, metabolomics has been used to study the mechanism of homeostasis, as well as the disturbances induced by deficient or excess diet [31]. Chen et al. In this study, metabolic network of the animals with Yang deficiency of kidney appeared to be repaired, and the metabolic profiling of these animals returned to normal after the intervention with Wen-Yang herbs. Using the animal model with syndrome of liver qi stagnation and spleen deficiency induced by chronic restrained stress, it has been demonstrated that: 1 metabolic profiling has obvious difference between control group and model group; 2 metabolin varies along with the development of the animal model; 3 metabolin might have significant difference in different symptoms of TCM, which is based on the alteration of metabolin and metabolic network [34,35,36].

It was found that aristolochic acid caused progressive kidney injury, and the metabolic profiling also changed in these animals. Liu et al reported that Sijunzi Decoction has effects of increasing the mucous protein in gastrointestinal cell [38], antagonizing acetylcholine, and promoting the synthesis of hepatic glycogen and antioxidation. It was also proved that Sijunzi Decoction carried out these effects by repairing the metabolic network injury from multicomponent, multistrata, and multitarget. Moreover, the period of security study of TCM new drugs could be shortened by Metabolomics.

Metabolomics could analyze multiple metabolic pathways rapidly and effectively; help to fix target tissue and assess the toxic and side effects; deduce the mechanism of toxicity; and discover the occurrence, development, and disappearance of the injury using biological marker [39].

Zhang et al.

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Systems Medicine

The molecular mechanisms were also studied based on which a new method for evaluating the toxicity of the liver and kidney induced by herbs was established using Metabolomics. Metabolomics has been widely used as a kind of independent technology. This subject is used to obtain, process, memorize, classify, retrieve, and analyze biological macromolecular information in order to understand the biological significance of these macromoleculars.

Wang et al.

Application of Systems Biology in Traditional Chinese Medicine Research

Xu et al. In the clinical Li Qing-ya et al. Moreover, in the clinical analysis of chronic gastritis and pathological changes before cancer occurs, Li et al. Li et al. Recently, we studied the patients with symptoms of chronic hepatitis B using complex network and found that these patients posses small world characteristics.

We still discovered that the distribution of chronic hepatitis B in patients has the feature of TCM symptoms and revealed the complexity of liver disease system in TCM [47]. The combination still stays in the primary stage of theory discussion and drug research. Some issues could not be investigated completely and in detail, and especially prospective reports on integrated clinic are scarce.

The situation may be due to the fact that there are still some indefinite points in the theory of TCM, and it is difficult to evaluate the therapeutic effect clinically. With the development of systems biology, more and more omics technologies and researches based on high throughput, massive information spring up increasingly, such as transcriptomics, which is established based on genomics and proteome, inter-actomics, epitomics, antigenome, toxicogenomics, and chemical matteromics, which is established based on Chinese Materia Medica.

The application of emerging omics technology in TCM research is rare or has not been seen, which suggests that the integration of TCM research and systems biology is still insufficient. In addition, in the process of investigation of TCM by systems biology, in order to master the developing regular patterns of diseases and objectively evaluate the results of intervention with TCM, how to combine TCM with the theories and methods of systems biology, how to determine the evaluating index, and how to integrate massive index information and find the regular pattern still are the problems to be solved.

Traditional Systems Biology

Therefore, systems biology may provide a new thought and method for TCM research. The integration of TCM and systems biology will be a huge possibility and challenge for TCM to scan its own role and develop its own special feature. In combination with the study of bioinformatics, various omics enable us to establish a forecasting model, imitate the developing process of diseases and therapy with drugs, and pretest the prognosis of diseases, thus assign TCM research objective evidences and end the times of only relying on experiences.

With the continual development of systems biology, more emerging omics will spring up. The research thought and technology provided by systems biology will be increasingly applied in the research of TCM. References [1] Hood L. Systems biology: new opportunities arising from genomics, proteomics and beyond. Experimental Hematology, , 26 8 Systems biology: a brief overview. Science, , — Related concepts and research of Genomics.

Bulletin of Biology, ,35 II :1—3. IET Systems Biology, , 1 1 — Journal of Xi ,22 2 — Journal of Medical Research, , 35 3 : 9 1 — A in Guizhi Tang. Chinese Journal of Rheumatoid Arthritis.