IMR Press / FBL / Volume 26 / Issue 9 / DOI: 10.52586/4968
Open Access Review
Current strategies and technologies for finding drug targets of active components from traditional Chinese medicine
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1 School of Pharmacy, Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 611137 Chengdu, Sichuan, China
2 School of Ethnic Medicine, Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 611137 Chengdu, Sichuan, China
*Correspondence: (Li Ai); (Chun-Jie Wu)
Front. Biosci. (Landmark Ed) 2021, 26(9), 572–589;
Submitted: 2 July 2021 | Revised: 26 July 2021 | Accepted: 2 August 2021 | Published: 30 September 2021
Copyright: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by BRI.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license (

Introduction: The ambiguity of the drug target is one of the major factors restricting the development of traditional Chinese medicine (TCMs) and its bioactive constituents. The characteristics of “multiple components, multiple targets and multiple pathways” of TCMs make the research of drug targets extremely difficult. With the emergence of new theories, there are increasing technologies and strategies that can be used for the drug targets research of TCMs. In this paper, we summarize several techniques and methods applied to the study of TCM targets. Methods: Through consulting a large number of literature, research and summary, and finally summarized the application direction of the technical method, advantages and limitations. Results: The methods and techniques including computer aided drug design, network pharmacology, phage display, affinity fishing, drug affinity responsive target stability and cellular thermal shift assay were summarized, and their application directions, advantages and disadvantages were discussed. At the same time, a large number of application examples were given to provide reference for the research of TCM targets.

Traditional Chinese medicine
Drug targets
Bioactive constituents
Computer aided drug design
Fig. 1.
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