To observe the effect of herb-partitioned moxibustion (HPM) on expression of colonic cytokines in ulcerative colitis (UC) rats.
A UC rat model was established by protein immunization in combination with topical chemical stimulation. Rats in the HPM group (n = 8) received HPM at bilateral Tianshu (ST25) points. The gross injury and pathological scores of the colon were recorded. The expression profile of colonic cytokines was assayed using the protein microarray technique. Specific differential cytokines were selected and verified by ELISA. The corresponding UniProt Accessions of the differentially expressed cytokines were retrieved in the UniProt database. The pathways involved were analyzed with the help of the KEGG PATHWAY database. The DAVID database was used for functional cluster and pathway analysis.
HPM improved colon injuries in UC rats, manifested by accelerated repair of ulcers and alleviation of inflammation, and the gross injury and pathological scores both significantly decreased (P < 0.01). Fold change > 1.3 or < 0.77 was taken as the screening standard. There were 77 down-regulated and 9 up-regulated differentially expressed colonic cytokines in the HPM group compared with the model group, and expression of 20 differed significantly (P < 0.05). Twelve of the 20 significantly differentially expressed cytokines [β-catenin, interleukin-1 receptor 6 (IL-1R6), IL-1β, B7-1, nerve growth factor receptor, AMP-activated protein kinase-α1, neuropilin-2, orexin A, adipocyte differentiation-related protein, IL-2, Fas and FasL] were up-regulated in the model group (n = 3, compared with the normal group) but down-regulated in the HPM group (n = 3, compared with the model group). Functional cluster analysis showed that the differentially expressed colonic cytokines in the HPM group regulated apoptosis and protein phosphorylation. KEGG pathway analysis showed that 52 down-regulated and 7 up-regulated differentially expressed colonic cytokines in the HPM group had pathways. The pathways that interacted between the cytokines and their receptors accounted for the largest proportion (28 of the down-regulated and 5 of the up-regulated cytokines).
HPM promotes the repair of colon injuries in UC rats, which is related to the regulation of several abnormally expressed cytokines.