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Comparative studies of the anti-thrombotic effects of saffron and HongHua based on network pharmacology

Jinyan Jiang
Susu Lin
Qiaoqiao Li
Shanshan Jiang
Yingjie Hu
Ling liu
Yu Jiang
Shuting Chen
Yingpeng Tong
Ping Wang


Purpose: To investigate the comparative anti-thrombotic effects of saffron and Honghua, and also to explore possible mechanisms in thrombosis based on network pharmacology.

Methods: A network pharmacology model was used for bioactive components, targets and pathways for saffron and HongHua via Traditional Chinese Medicine Systems Pharmacology Database and Analysis Platform (TCMSP), PharmMapper, Genecard, Uniprot and KEGG databases. In animal experiments, 72 rats were randomly divided into 9 groups: normal control group (NC), model control group (MC), crocetin groups (80, 40, 20 mg/kg), hydroxysafflor yellow A(HSYA) groups (80, 40, 20 mg/kg), and aspirin group (40 mg/kg). Using in vitro thrombosis models and an acute blood stasis model in vivo, the anti-thrombotic effects of these treatments on clotting time, hemorheology parameters, Thromboxane B2 (TXB2), plasmin activator inhibitor (PAI), protein C (PC), protein S (PS), and thrombinantithrombin complex (TAT) were determined and comparisons made for saffron and HongHua.

Results: Five potential compounds, 16 anti-thrombotic targets and 27 pathways were predicted for saffron, while 22 compounds, 37 disease targets and 35 pathways were found for HongHua (p < 0.05). Pharmacological experiments revealed that crocetin and HSYA had significant effects on thrombus length, thrombus wet/dry mass, whole blood viscosity (WBV), erythrocyte aggregation index (EAI), clotting time and D-dimer for the high and middle groups. Unlike HSYA, crocetin also had significant and dose-dependent effects on PAI, prothrombin fragment 1+2 (F1+2) and PS and had highly significant effects on TXB2 and TAT.

Conclusion: This research provides a systematic, comprehensive and comparative analysis of component, target and anti-thrombotic pathways of saffron and HongHua based on network pharmacology, and also shows that saffron has more significant anti-thrombotic effect than HongHua.

Keywords: Saffron; HongHua; Network pharmacology; Anti-thrombosis; Network model