Original Article
Copyright ©2014 Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Gastroenterol. Aug 28, 2014; 20(32): 11297-11304
Published online Aug 28, 2014. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i32.11297
Role of moxibustion in inflammatory responses during treatment of rat ulcerative colitis
Yang Han, Tie-Ming Ma, Mao-Lin Lu, Lu Ren, Xian-De Ma, Zeng-Hua Bai
Yang Han, Tie-Ming Ma, Lu Ren, Xian-De Ma, Zeng-Hua Bai, Department of Acupuncture and Massage, Liaoning University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shenyang 110032, Liaoning Province, China
Mao-Lin Lu, Center for Photochemical Sciences, Department of Chemistry, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403, United States
Author contributions: Ma TM, Han Y and Bai ZH designed the research; Han Y and Ma XD performed the experiments; Lu ML wrote the manuscript; Lu ML and Han Y revised the manuscript; Ma TM and Ren L supervised the research.
Supported by Scientific and Technological Project of Educational Department of Liaoning Province, China, No. L2011166
Correspondence to: Tie-Ming Ma, Professor, Department of Acupuncture and Massage, Liaoning University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chongshan Rd 79, Shenyang 110032, Liaoning Province, China. matieming999@sohu.com
Telephone: +86-24-31207020 Fax: +86-24-31207020
Received: March 20, 2014
Revised: May 30, 2014
Accepted: July 16, 2014
Published online: August 28, 2014

AIM: To investigate the efficacy of moxibustion in ulcerative colitis (UC) rats from morphological, immunological and molecular biological perspectives.

METHODS: Thirty-two Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly assigned to a blank control group (normal rats, n = 6) and a model replication (MR) group (UC rats, n = 26). A UC model was established by 2,4,6-trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid/dextran sulfate sodium enema. Rats in the MR group were further randomly assigned to a 9-min moxibustion (9M) group (9 moxa-cone, n = 6), 6-min moxibustion (6M) group (6 moxa-cone, n = 6), 3-min moxibustion (3M) group (3 moxa-cone, n = 6), and a waiting list control (WLC) group (no moxibustion treatment, n = 6). Rats in the moxibustion treatment group were treated in 14 sessions over 28 d. Disease activity, local tissue morphology, serum level of interleukin (IL)-8 and IL-10, and expression of Toll-like receptor (TLR)9 as well as nuclear factor (NF)-κB p65 in colonic tissue were determined by disease activity index (DAI), hematoxylin and eosin staining, electron microscopy, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and Western blotting, respectively.

RESULTS: DAI was lowest in the 9M group and highest in the WLC group. The differences in DAI between the moxibustion treatment (3M, 6M, 9M) and no treatment groups were significant for all one-to-one comparisons (0.60 ± 0.54 vs 1.20 ± 0.44, 0.60 ± 0.54 vs 1.80 ± 0.45, 0.60 ± 0.54 vs 3.0 ± 0.45, respectively, P < 0.05). Light and electron microscopy showed that the neatness of the glandular arrangement in colonic mucosal epithelia gradually increased in the WLC, 3M, 6M to 9M groups. IL-8 level successively decreased while IL-10 level increased from the WLC to 3M, 6M and 9M groups. The differences among these groups were significant for all comparisons (105.46 ± 8.75 vs 76.61 ± 3.58, 105.46 ± 8.75 vs 69.78 ± 1.87, 105.46 ± 8.75 vs 67.41 ± 1.84, respectively, P < 0.01 for IL-8; and 30.83 ± 1.29 vs 75.64 ± 1.90, 30.83 ± 1.29 vs 80.90 ± 3.16, 30.83 ± 1.29 vs 83.46 ± 2.37, respectively, P < 0.01 for IL-10), except comparison of 6M vs 9M. Expression of TLR9 and NF-κB p65 decreased in order: highest in the WLC group and lowest in the 9M group. In addition, the differences among the WLC, 3M, 6M and 9M groups were significant for all comparisons (0.492 ± 0.026 vs 0.380 ± 0.022, 0.492 ± 0.026 vs 0.355 ± 0.005, 0.492 ± 0.026 vs 0.327 ± 0.015, respectively, P < 0.05 for TLR9; and 0.436 ± 0.041 vs 0.326 ± 0.022, 0.436 ± 0.041 vs 0.293 ± 0.006, 0.436 ± 0.041 vs 0.265 ± 0.017, respectively, P < 0.05 for NF-κB p65).

CONCLUSION: Moxibustion repairs damaged colonic mucosa, suppresses serum IL-8, activates serum IL-10 level, and decreases expression of TLR-9 and NF-κB p65 in UC rats.

Keywords: Moxibustion, Ulcerative colitis, Disease activity index, Interleukin-8, Interleukin-10, Toll-like receptor 9, Nuclear factor-κB p65

Core tip: We investigated the effectiveness of moxibustion treatment in ulcerative colitis rats from a modern medicine perspective. In addition, we correlated the effects of moxibustion therapy with immune or inflammatory responses by observing levels of interleukin (IL)-8, IL-10, Toll-like receptor 9, and nuclear factor-κB p65, and the underlying mechanisms were suggested.