Application of “-Omic-” technologies in phytomedicine

Application of the “-Omic-” technologies in phytomedicine

G. Ulrich-Merzenicha, , , H. Zeitlera, D. Jobstb, D. Paneka, H. Vettera and H. Wagnerc

aMedical Policlinic of the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University of Bonn, Wilhelmstr. 35-37, D-53111 Bonn, Germany bHeinrich Heine University of Düsseldorf, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University of Bonn cDepartment of Pharmacy, University of Munich, Butenandtstr. 5-13, Haus B, D-81377 Munich

Received 10 December 2005; accepted 5 November 2006. Available online 22 December 2006.

Abstract The proof of efficacy of phytopreparations and the determination of their mode of action are permanent challenges for an evidence-based phytotherapy. The technology platform of genomics, proteomics and metabolomics (“-omic-” technologies) are high-throughput technologies.

They increase substantially the number of proteins/genes that can be detected simultaneously and have the potential to relate complex mixtures to complex effects in the form of gene/protein expression profiles. Provided that phytopreparation-specific signatures in the form of gene/protein expression profiles can be developed, these technologies will be useful for the chemical and pharmacological standardization and the proof of the toxicological potential of a plant extract.

Over a long-term perspective they may economize the proof of efficacy, the determination of the mode of action of phytomedicines and allow to investigate herbal extracts without prominent active principle(s). The application of this genomics revealed already that gene expression profiles induced by single drugs and the ones induced by the combination of the same drugs can be entirely different.

These results make the information of the mode of action of isolated “active principles/lead substances” of phytopreparations questionable.

The application of the “-omic-” technologies may lead to a change of paradigms towards the application of complex mixtures in medicine and open the new field of phytogenomics, -proteomics and -metabolomics.

Phytomedicine Volume 14, Issue 1 , 10 January 2007, Pages 70-82


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