To observe the effect of electroacupuncture (EA) and manual acupuncture interventions on colonic inflammatory injury, cytokine level and cell apoptosis in ulcerative colitis (UC)rats, so as to reveal its mechanisms underlying improvement of UC.
A total of 32 SD rats were randomized into control, model, EA and manual acupuncture groups (8 rats/group). The UC model was established by intrarectally administration of 5% trinitro-benzene-sulfonic acid (TNBS)+ dehydrated alcohol. Both "Quchi" (LI 11) and "Zusanli" (ST 36) were punctured with filiform needles for 20 min in the manual acupuncture group or stimulated with EA (8 Hz/25 Hz, 2-4 mA, and duration of 20 min) in the EA group. The treatment was conducted once daily for consecutive 6 days. Changes of body weight and pathological state of colitis were observed. The contents of pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-1 β, IL-6), anti-inflammatory cytokine (IL-10), homocysteine (Hcy) and myeloperoxidase (MPO, two oxygen free radicals associated substances) in the colon tissues were detected by ELISA, and the protein expression levels of Bcl-2,Bax,phosphorylated (p)-inhibitor of nuclear factor kappaB kinase α(IκBα) and p-p 65 (a subunit of nuclear factor) of colonic tissues were detected by Western blot, separately.
Compared with the control group, the body weight was decreased and the state of the swelling and hemorrhage of the colon got worsened in the model group, while the state of the swelling and hemorrhage of the colon was better in both EA and manual acupuncture groups, and the body weight was clearly increased from day 4 on in both treatment groups. The concentrations of colonic TNF-α, IL-1 β, IL-6, IL-10, MPO and Hcy were all significantly higher in the model group than in the control group (P<0.01), but those of colonic TNF-α, IL-1 β, IL-6 in both EA and manual acupuncture groups, those of MPO and Hcy in the EA group were significantly down-regulated following the intervention (P<0.05, P<0.01), and that of IL-10 was notably further increased in the manual acupuncture group (P<0.05). In addition, modeling-induced remarkable down-regulation of colonic Bcl-2/Bax, and marked up-regulation of expression of IκBα and p-p 65 proteins were significantly suppressed in both EA and manual acupuncture groups (P<0.01).
Both EA and manual acupuncture interventions Feb alleviate the colonic lesions in UC rats, which Feb be related to their functions in regulating levels of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines, in balancing the expression of apoptosis-related protein and anti-apoptosis-related protein and in down-regulating the expression of the key nuclear transcription factors in the colonic tissue.