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13/10/2007 - Effects and probable mechanisms of electroacupuncture at the Zusanli point on upper gastrointestinal motility in rabbits.

Country: China

Institute: Department of General Surgery, Zhongshan Hospital of Fudan University, Shanghai, China.

Author(s): Niu WX, He GD, Liu H, Qin XY.

Journal: J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2007 Oct;22(10):1683-9. Epub 2007 Jul 21.


Background and Aim: The purposes of this study were to investigate the regulative effect of acupuncture on gastrointestinal motility in rabbits and to explore the probable mechanism of electroacupuncture.

Methods: The experiment was performed on 30 rabbits implanted with three pairs of electrodes, which were equally divided into three groups: the control group, the Zusanli group, and the non-acupuncture point group. The gastrointestinal myoelectrical activity of each conscious rabbit was recorded when acupuncture was applied. Motilin in plasma, cholecystokinin (CCK) in serum, the activity of acetylcholine esterase, nitric oxide synthase (NOS), and the vesicle of nerve endings in the stomach tissue and jejunum were investigated.

Results: It was found that electroacupuncture did not exert much influence on the slow wave of gastrointestinal myoelectrical activity, but significantly increased the number and amplitude of spikes. In the Zusanli group, the concentration of motilin and CCK was much higher at the post-acupuncture stage than at the pre-acupuncture stage. Electroacupuncture significantly enhanced the activity of acetylcholine esterase. Moreover, we found out that in the Zusanli group, the number of vesicles without granula was significantly fewer than in the control group. The activity of NOS was less in the Zusanli group than in the control group.

Conclusions: Acupuncture may enhance the gastrointestinal myoelectrical activity of conscious rabbits. The cholinergic nerve, nitric oxide, motilin, and CCK may contribute to acupuncture mechanisms.

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Pubmed ID: 17645478