Electroacupuncture at ST-36 accelerates colonic motility and transit in freely moving conscious rats.
Acupuncture is useful for functional bowel diseases, such as constipation and diarrhea. However, the mechanisms of beneficial effects of acupuncture on colonic function have scarcely ever been investigated. We tested the hypothesis that electroacupuncture (EA) at ST-36 stimulates colonic motility and transit via a parasympathetic pathway in conscious rats. Hook-shaped needles were inserted at bilateral ST-36 (lower limb) or BL-21 (back) and electrically stimulated at 10 Hz for 20 min. We also studied c-Fos expression in response to EA at ST-36 in Barrington's nucleus of the pons. EA at ST-36, but not BL-21, significantly increased the amplitude of motility at the distal colon. The calculated motility index of the distal colon increased to 132 +/- 9.9% of basal levels (n = 14, P < 0.05). In contrast, EA at ST-36 had no stimulatory effects in the proximal colon. EA at ST-36 significantly accelerated colonic transit [geometric center (GC) = 6.76 +/- 0.42, n = 9, P < 0.001] compared with EA at BL-21 (GC = 5.23 +/- 0.39, n = 7). The stimulatory effect of EA at ST-36 on colonic motility and transit was abolished by pretreatment with atropine. EA-induced acceleration of colonic transit was also abolished by extrinsic nerve denervation of the distal colon (GC = 4.69 +/- 0.33, n = 6). The number of c-Fos-immunopositive cells at Barrington's nucleus significantly increased in response to EA at ST-36 to 8.1 +/- 1.1 cells/section compared with that of controls (2.4 +/- 0.5 cells/section, n = 3, P < 0.01). It is concluded that EA at ST-36 stimulates distal colonic motility and accelerates colonic transit via a sacral parasympathetic efferent pathway (pelvic nerve). Barrington's nucleus plays an important role in mediating EA-induced distal colonic motility in conscious rats.
Iwa, M; Matsushima, M; Nakade, Y; Pappas, TN; Fujimiya, M; Takahashi, T
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)