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Anti-inflammatory Effect of Electro-acupuncture via Reduction in Colonic Peristalsis in a Mouse Model of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

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Conventional therapies for idiopathic inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), which are chronic nonspecific inflammatory disorders, are still insufficient. Recently, there has been a focus on acupuncture, one of the major complementary and alternative interventions, and some clinical trials have suggested efficacy of acupuncture for IBD. However, the therapeutic mechanism and effect of acupuncture are still unknown and are controversial because of not only lack of clinical trials but also poor experimental investigation. To prevent patients receiving ineffectual therapy, evaluation of its efficacy and elucidation of its mechanisms are important. In this study, we employed mice with dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis and investigated the effect of electro-acupuncture on disease activity and colonic inflammation. We performed electro-acupuncture every other day. Mice with colitis showed an increase in disease activity after DSS treatment, whereas in mice treated with electro-acupuncture, scores of disease activity, stool consistency and bloody bowel discharge were significantly reduced, consistent with improvement in pathological findings. In addition, recruitment of macrophages and expression of ICAM were inhibited, accompanied by a significant reduction of DSS-induced expression of interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-6. Of importance, acceleration of giant migrating contraction (peristalsis) induced by vagostigmin attenuated these effects of electro-acupuncture. Overall, these data demonstrated that electro-acupuncture suppressed disease activity and colonic inflammation in DSS-induced colitis through a reduction in propagated colonic peristalsis mediated by sympathetic overactivity, suggesting the potential of acupuncture as a relief therapy for IBD.
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Keywords: Acupuncture; DSS; IBD; IL-1β; IL-6; NF-κB; autonomic nervous system; complementary and alternative therapy; giant migrating contractions; inflammation; peristalsis; sympathetic activity

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2013

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  • Immunology, Endocrine & Metabolic Agents in Medicinal Chemistry aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments in the medicinal chemistry and rational drug design for the discovery of new Immunology, Endocrine & Metabolic Agents. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of current topics in Immunology, Endocrine & Metabolic medicinal chemistry.

    Immunology, Endocrine & Metabolic Agents in Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments in Immunology, Endocrine & Metabolic drug discovery.
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