Sang Xing Tang is a typical prescription for treating “warm dryness” in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which is equivalent to respiratory diseases such as acute bronchitis in modern medicine. However, its mechanism of action remains unclear. In this study, the representative components of Sang Xing Tang were characterized using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS). The key targets, signaling pathways, and metabolic pathways associated with Sang Xing Tang in the treatment of acute bronchitis were identified via network prediction and metabolomics.
A rat model of acute bronchitis was also established using mixed smoke, systematic in vivo experiments such as histopathological analyses, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), immunofluorescence, immunohistochemistry and western blotting were conducted to evaluate the network prediction results. An in-depth analysis of the targeted quantitative results was performed using the SIMCA software and MetaboAnalyst website.
The results revealed that 50 active compounds and 45 key targets were screened and clustered with 20 approved drugs. The NF-κB signaling pathway, oxidative stress, and glutamine metabolism were associated with the therapeutic mechanism of Sang Xing Tang in acute bronchitis. In vivo experiments showed that Sang Xing Tang may maintain the production of inflammatory factors by regulating the PI3K/Akt/NF-κB signaling pathway, improving the metabolism of glutamine and glutamate to reduce oxidative stress, and inhibiting apoptosis. Simultaneously, the possibility of using Sang Xing Tang as an adjuvant drug for COVID-19 treatment was also revealed.
This research will lay the foundation for the modern clinical application of Sang Xing Tang and promote the promotion and innovation of TCM.