To observe the effect of medicated thread moxibustion of Zhuang Minority medicine on helper T cell 17 (Th17)/ Interleukin-17F(IL-17F) signaling pathway in ulcerative colitis (UC) rats, so as to explore its mechanisms underlying improvement of UC.
Forty male SD rats were randomly divided into normal control, model, medication and medicated thread moxibustion (MTM) groups, with 10 rats in each group. The UC model was induced by free drinking of 4% dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) for 10 d. After successful modeling, rats of the medication group were treated by gavage of salazosulfapyridine (SASP). Medicated thread moxibustion was applied to unilateral "Tianshu" (ST25) and "Qihai" (CV6) alternatively for rats of the MTM group, once daily for 14 d. The body mass, stool shape, and fecal occult test were recorded and conducted daily to perform disease activity index (DAI) score. H．E. staining was used to display pathological changes of the colon tissue. The Th17 cells and IL-17F and retinoic acid related orphan receptor γ t (ROR-γt) in the colon tissue were detected by flow cytometry, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), respectively, and the expression levels of RORγt and IL-17F mRNA in colon tissue were detected by quantitive real-time PCR.
After modeling, the DAI score, colonic Th17 percentage, RORγt and IL-17F contents, and RORγt and IL-17F mRNA expression were significantly increased in the model group in contrast to the normal control group (P<0.01, P<0.05). Following the intervention, all the aforementioned indexes were reversed in both medication and MTM groups (P<0.01, P<0.05). No significant differences were found between the medication and MTM groups in the levels of the above mentioned indexes (P>0.05, except RORγt and IL-17F mRNA expression). H．E. staining showed disappearance of goblet cells, infiltration of a large number of inflammatory cells, exfoliation of the epithelial tissue and edema of colonic mucosal in rats of the model group, which was relatively milder in both medication and MTM groups.
Medicated thread moxibustion of Zhuang Minority medicine can reduce the inflammatory damage of colon tissue in UC rats, which is associated with its effects in suppressing the expression of RORγt, production of Th17 cells, and secretion of pro-inflammatory factor IL-17F in colon tissue.