To observe the effect of electroacupuncture (EA) on levels of T-lymphocytes, spleen index, thymus index and lymphopoiesis in strenuous exercise-induced immunosuppression rats, so as to study its mechanisms underlying improving immune function of strenuous training athletes.
A total of 43 SD rats were randomly allocated to control (n = 10), model (n = 17) and EA (n = 16) groups. Immunosuppression model was established by forcing the rat to swim for 150 min in a water tank, once daily, 6 times a week and for 8 weeks. EA (2 Hz, < 1 mA) was applied to bilateral "Zusanli" (ST 36), "Baihui" (GV 20) and "Guanyuan" (CV 4) for 20 min, once daily for 7 weeks. Spleen weight and thymus weight were detected after killing the anesthetized rats for calculating spleen index and thymus index, separately. Peripheral blood T cell subsets were measured by using flow cytometer, and lymphopoiesis was detected by using 3H-thymidine deoxyribonucleotide (3H-TdR) incorporation.
In comparison with the control group, spleen index, thymus index, lymphopoiesis and CD3+ levels of the model group were decreased significantly (P < 0.01, P < 0.05). Compared with the model group, peripheral blood CD3+, CD4+ and NKC levels, and thymus and spleen indexes were increased considerably in EA group (P < 0.01, P < 0.05). No significant differences were found between the control and model groups in CD4+, CD8+ and CD4+ /CD8+ and NKC levels, and between the model and EA groups in CD8+ and CD4+/CD8+ levels (P > 0.05).
EA intervention can effectively upregulate peripheral blood CD3+, CD4+ and NKC, and thymus and spleen indexes in strenuous training rats, which may contribute to its effect in relieving strenuous exercise-induced immunosuppression.