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Brief Bioinform. 2016 Nov;17(6):1070-1080. Epub 2015 Oct 21.

Updates on drug-target network; facilitating polypharmacology and data integration by growth of DrugBank database.


Network pharmacology elucidates the relationship between drugs and targets. As the identified targets for each drug increases, the corresponding drug-target network (DTN) evolves from solely reflection of the pharmaceutical industry trend to a portrait of polypharmacology. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potentials of DrugBank database in advancing systems pharmacology. We constructed and analyzed DTN from drugs and targets associations in the DrugBank 4.0 database. Our results showed that in bipartite DTN, increased ratio of identified targets for drugs augmented density and connectivity of drugs and targets and decreased modular structure. To clear up the details in the network structure, the DTNs were projected into two networks namely, drug similarity network (DSN) and target similarity network (TSN). In DSN, various classes of Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs with distinct therapeutic categories were linked together based on shared targets. Projected TSN also showed complexity because of promiscuity of the drugs. By including investigational drugs that are currently being tested in clinical trials, the networks manifested more connectivity and pictured the upcoming pharmacological space in the future years. Diverse biological processes and protein-protein interactions were manipulated by new drugs, which can extend possible target combinations. We conclude that network-based organization of DrugBank 4.0 data not only reveals the potential for repurposing of existing drugs, also allows generating novel predictions about drugs off-targets, drug-drug interactions and their side effects. Our results also encourage further effort for high-throughput identification of targets to build networks that can be integrated into disease networks.


DrugBank database; drug target network; network biology; systems pharmacology

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