Pulmonary hypertension and the potential of ‘drug’ repurposing: A case for African medicinal plants

Main Article Content

S Jacobs
C Payne
S Shaboodien
T Kgatla
A Pretorius
C Jumaar
G Maarman
O Sanni


Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a haemodynamic disorder in which elevated blood pressure in the pulmonary circulation is caused by abnormal vascular tone. Despite advances in treatment, PH mortality remains high, and drug repurposing has been proposed as a mitigating approach. This article reviews the studies that have investigated drug repurposing as a viable option for PH. We provide an overview of PH and highlight pharmaceutical drugs with repurposing potential, based on limited evidence of their mechanisms of action. Moreover, studies have demonstrated the benefits of medicinal plants in PH, most of which are of Indian or Asian origin. Africa is a rich source of many medicinal plants that have been scientifically proven to counteract myriad pathologies. When perusing these studies, one will notice that some African medicinal plants can counteract the molecular pathways (e.g. proliferation, vasoconstriction, inflammation, oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction) that are also involved in the pathogenesis of PH. We review the actions of these plants with actions applicable to PH and highlight that they could be repurposed as adjunct PH therapies. However, these plants have either never been tested in PH, or there is little evidence of their actions against PH. We therefore encourage caution, as more research is needed to study these plants further in experimental models of PH while acknowledging that the outcomes of such proof- of-concept studies may not always yield promising findings. Regardless, this article aims to stimulate future research that could make timely contributions to the field.


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Jacobs S, Payne C, Shaboodien S, Kgatla T, Pretorius A, Jumaar C, et al. Pulmonary hypertension and the potential of ‘drug’ repurposing: A case for African medicinal plants. Afr J Thoracic Crit Care Med [Internet]. 2024 Jul. 4 [cited 2024 Jul. 18];30(2):e1352. Available from: https://samajournals.co.za/index.php/ajtccm/article/view/1352
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Jacobs S, Payne C, Shaboodien S, Kgatla T, Pretorius A, Jumaar C, et al. Pulmonary hypertension and the potential of ‘drug’ repurposing: A case for African medicinal plants. Afr J Thoracic Crit Care Med [Internet]. 2024 Jul. 4 [cited 2024 Jul. 18];30(2):e1352. Available from: https://samajournals.co.za/index.php/ajtccm/article/view/1352


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