Basic Study
Copyright ©The Author(s) 2018. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Gastroenterol. Aug 14, 2018; 24(30): 3384-3397
Published online Aug 14, 2018. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v24.i30.3384
Herb-partitioned moxibustion alleviates colon injuries in ulcerative colitis rats
Dan Zhang, Yan-Bo Ren, Kai Wei, Jue Hong, Yan-Ting Yang, Li-Jie Wu, Ji Zhang, Zheng Shi, Huan-Gan Wu, Xiao-Peng Ma
Dan Zhang, Jue Hong, Zheng Shi, Huan-Gan Wu, Xiao-Peng Ma, Laboratory of Acupuncture-moxibustion and Immunology, Shanghai Research Institute of Acupuncture and Meridian, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 200030, China
Yan-Bo Ren, Department of Integrated Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine, North Branch of Huashan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai 201907, China
Kai Wei, Key Laboratory of Systems Biomedicine (Ministry of Education), Shanghai Center for Systems Biomedicine, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China
Yan-Ting Yang, Li-Jie Wu, Ji Zhang, Xiao-Peng Ma, Yueyang Clinical Medicine School, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 201203, China
Author contributions: Zhang D, Ren YB, Wei K and Hong J contributed equally to this work; Ma XP designed and supervised this research; Zhang D and Ren YB performed the animal experiment; Ren YB, Wei K, Hong J, Yang YT and Zhang J contributed to detection of all indexes; Zhang D wrote this manuscript and Wu LJ analyzed the data; Zhang D, Ren YB, Wei K and Hong J revised this manuscript; Shi Z and Wu HG were devoted to the guidance; all authors approved the final version of this article, including the author list.
Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 81674073, 81202754, and 81273843; Training Project for Outstanding Discipline Leaders of Shanghai Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning, No. 2017BR047; National Key Basic Research Program of China (973 Program), No. 2015CB554501 and 2009CB522900; Budgetary Project of Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, No. 18LK050.
Institutional animal care and use committee statement: All procedures involving animals were reviewed and approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Conflict-of-interest statement: The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest regarding the publication of this paper.
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: Xiao-Peng Ma, PhD, Professor, Laboratory of Acupuncture-moxibustion and Immunology, Shanghai Research Institute of Acupuncture and Meridian, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, No. 650 South Wanping Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai 200030, China.
Telephone: +86-21-64690257 Fax: +86-21-64382181
Received: May 9, 2018
Peer-review started: May 9, 2018
First decision: June 15, 2018
Revised: June 22, 2018
Accepted: June 30, 2018
Article in press: June 30, 2018
Published online: August 14, 2018
Research background

The imbalance of cytokines modulated by activated immunocytes has been verified as an initial factor inducing inflammatory injuries in ulcerative colitis (UC). Herb-partitioned moxibustion (HPM), a non-drug external therapy, produces valid efficacy in treating UC, but its potential mechanism is still unclear.

Research motivation

The action mechanism of HPM was explored by using high throughout analysis of cytokine expression profiles in the colon and their network effects in our research.

Research objectives

By identifying the key cytokines in the action of HPM and analyzing their signal pathways, our research aimed to provide research ideas and crucial targets for further elaboration of the anti-inflammation mechanism of HPM in treating UC.

Research methods

A UC rat model was established by protein immunization in combination with topical chemical stimulation. Rats in the HPM group received HPM at bilateral Tianshu (ST25) points. The expression profile of colonic cytokines was assayed using the protein microarray technique.

Research results

Seventy-seven down-regulated and nine up-regulated differentially-expressed colonic cytokines were found in the HPM group. Functional cluster analysis showed that the differentially-expressed colonic cytokines in the HPM group regulated apoptosis and protein phosphorylation. KEGG pathway analysis showed that the pathways interacting between the cytokines and their receptors accounted for the largest proportion (28 of 52 down-regulated cytokines and 5 of 7 up-regulated cytokines).

Research conclusions

HPM promotes the repair of colon injuries in UC rats, which is related to the regulation of several abnormally-expressed cytokines.

Research perspectives

By functional cluster and KEGG pathway analyses, this study selected specific differential cytokines in HPM treatment of UC, which can provide potential targets for targeted therapy in the future and also research ideas for further elaboration of signal pathways in the action of HPM for UC. The results showed that the signal pathways interacting between cytokines and their receptors were closely related to the action of HPM, and the MAPK signaling pathway and JAK/STAT signaling pathway were possibly involved in the anti-inflammation process of HPM for colitis. A focus on this field may help better understand the mechanism of moxibustion in treating UC.