Basic Study
Copyright ©The Author(s) 2016. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Gastroenterol. Feb 28, 2016; 22(8): 2566-2575
Published online Feb 28, 2016. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v22.i8.2566
Moxibustion regulates inflammatory mediators and colonic mucosal barrier in ulcerative colitis rats
Tie-Ming Ma, Na Xu, Xian-De Ma, Zeng-Hua Bai, Xing Tao, Hong-Chi Yan
Tie-Ming Ma, Na Xu, Xian-De Ma, Zeng-Hua Bai, Xing Tao, Hong-Chi Yan, Liaoning University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shenyang 110847, Liaoning Province, China
Author contributions: Ma TM, Xu N, and Bai ZH designed the research; Xu N, Ma XD, Tao X, and Yan HC performed the experiments; Ma TM and Xu N wrote the manuscript; Ma TM and Bai ZH revised the manuscript; Ma TM and Ma XD supervised the research.
Supported by Social Development Research Project of Scientific and Technological Department of Liaoning Province, China, No. 2012225018.
Institutional review board statement: The study was reviewed and approved by the Scientific Research Institutional Review Board of Liaoning University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Institutional animal care and use committee statement: All procedures involving animals were reviewed and approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of Liaoning University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (protocol number: 20141104).
Conflict-of-interest statement: All authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
Data sharing statement: No additional data are available.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Dr. Tie-Ming Ma, Professor, Liaoning University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chongshan Road 79, Shenyang 110847, Liaoning Province, China.
Telephone: +86-24-31207020 Fax: +86-24-31207020
Received: September 1, 2015
Peer-review started: September 17, 2015
First decision: October 14, 2015
Revised: October 30, 2015
Accepted: November 30, 2015
Article in press: December 1, 2015
Published online: February 28, 2016

AIM: To observe the efficacy and mechanism of grain-sized moxibustion at different acupoints in a rat model of ulcerative colitis (UC).

METHODS: Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into control, UC model, grain-sized moxibustion at a single acupoint (CV 12), grain-sized moxibustion at two acupoints (CV 12 and CV 4), grain-sized moxibustion at three acupoints (CV 12, CV 4, and ST 36), and medication groups (n = 8/group). The UC model was established by enema of trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid. Direct moxibustion was used once a day for 7 d. Disease activity index (DAI) was evaluated before and after the treatment. Morphologic changes of intestinal tissue were observed under an optical microscope. The expression of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38MAPK) in colonic tissue was detected using Western blot, and the levels of occludin and zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1) mRNAs were detected using reverse transcription PCR.

RESULTS: Compared with the control group, the intestinal mucosae were incomplete in the model group, glandular structures were irregular, and submucosae were edematous, hyperemic, and infiltrated with inflammatory cells. The DAI scores and expression of TNF-α and p38MAPK were increased significantly in the model group compared to controls (Ps < 0.01), while the mRNA levels of occludin and ZO-1 were reduced significantly (Ps < 0.01). Compared with the model group, colonic mucosa and the arrangement of glands were complete and regular in the treatment groups. DAI scores and the expression of TNF-α and p38MAPK were reduced significantly in moxibustion groups compared to controls (Ps < 0.01), while the mRNA levels of occludin and ZO-1 were increased significantly (Ps < 0.01). The improvements in the above indices in the three acupoints group and the medication group were superior to those in the single and two acupoints groups (all P < 0.05).

CONCLUSION: Reduction of TNF-α and p38MAPK and increased expression of occludin and ZO-1 in colonic tissue represent a potential mechanism for improved intestinal mucosal tissue repair with grain-sized moxibustion.

Keywords: Different acupoints, Grain-sized moxibustion, Inflammatory factors, Intestinal mucosal barrier, Ulcerative colitis

Core tip: The efficacy of different acupoint prescriptions for grain-sized moxibustion on inflammatory responses and the mucosal barrier of colonic tissue was assessed in ulcerative colitis rats. Treatment with moxibustion reduced expression of tumor necrosis factor-α and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase, with increased levels of occludin and zonula occludens-1 mRNA in colonic tissue of rats. These data suggest that the improved mucosal barrier function of colonic tissue and decreased invasion of inflammatory factors are mechanisms for grain-sized moxibustion in repairing the intestinal mucosal tissue. The therapeutic effect of grain-sized moxibustion was greater with three acupoints compared to one or two acupoints.