Cardiomyopathy is a common cause of heart failure and may lead to increased risk of sudden cardiac death, lacking simple, safe and effective treatment strategies due to unclear pathogenesis. Ginkgo biloba L. leaves (GBLs), a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), has been widely used in clinical medicine for improving blood circulation, and was demonstrated to be effective on cardiomyopathy in preclinical studies. However, because of the widely known holistic therapeutic philosophy via multi-target and multi-pathway effect for most TCMs, to explore its underlying molecular mechanisms of action (MoA) remains a great challenge.
Decipher the underlying MoA of GBLs for cardiomyopathy treatment: Study design and methods: An integrated systems pharmacology framework was employed to screen potential active compounds, identify therapeutic targets, explore the action pathways and verify mechanisms of GBLs with in vitro experiments.
We firstly confirmed the therapeutic effect of GBLs on cardiomyopathy and subsequently screened 27 active compounds from GBLs according to their pharmacokinetic properties. Then Probability Ensemble Approach was applied to identify the compound combinations that exert synergetic effect from GBLs. Network analysis and functional enrichment analysis demonstrated that these compounds exhibit synergistic therapeutic effect by acting on multiple targets and thereby regulating multiple pathways mainly involved in pro-survival, anti-apoptotic and anti-inflammatory processes. Finally, using a doxorubicin-induced myocardial injury model, therapeutic effect of ginkgolide A, ginkgolide B, isorhamnetin, as well as their synergistic effect on PI3K-AKT and NF-κB signaling pathways were validated in vitro. Importantly, we demonstrated that Ginkgo diterpene lactone meglumine injection (GDJ), an approved injection derived from GBLs, could be a promising agent for cardiomyopathy treatment.
Collectively, the multi-level synergetic mechanism of GBLs on cardiomyopathy treatment was demonstrated with systems pharmacology approach, providing a paradigm for deciphering the complicated MoA of TCMs.

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