Electroacupuncture at acupoint ST 37(Shangjuxu) improves function of the enteric nervous system in a novel mouse constipation model.
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2016 Oct 18 ;16(1):392. Epub 2016 Aug 18. PMID: 27756367
BACKGROUND: Electroacupuncture (EA) at acupoint ST 37 (Shangjuxu) has been used to alleviate gastrointestinal symptoms and improve gastrointestinal motility. However, the mechanisms by which EA affects the enteric nervous system (ENS) have scarcely been investigated. In this study, we investigated whether EA could improve ENS function.
METHODS: A constipation model was established by gastric instillation of ice-cold saline daily for 14 days. The constipated mice were divided into two groups: the model group, which was not treated, and the EA group, which received EA at ST 37 at a frequency of 2-15 HZ and an amplitude of 1 mA for 15 min a day for 3 days. A further six mice were included as a non-constipated control group. After EA treatment, intestinal propulsion and defecation time were measured. Additionally, in jejunum, ileum and proximal colon myenteric plexus, the expressions of PGP9.5 and nNOS were measured by immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS: The EA group demonstrated significant improvements in carbon propulsion rates and defecation time compared to model group (P < 0.05). In addition, after EA, the PGP9.5 and nNOS expression in jejunum, ileum and proximal colonic myenteric plexus was back to normal levels.
CONCLUSION: This study suggests that EA stimulation at ST 37 is capable of ameliorating intestinal motility dysfunction, and can partly restore enteric neuron function. The ENS can participate in changes in intestinal motility by affecting inhibitory neurons.