Effect of the acupoints ST-36 (Zusanli) and SP-6 (Sanyinjiao) on intestinal myoelectric activity of Wistar rats.
Tabosa A, Yamamura Y, Forno ER, Mello LE.
Divisao de Medicina Chinesa e Acupuntura, Departamento de Ortopedia e Traumatologia, Universidade Federal de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, SP, Brasil.
Despite its ancient use as a therapeutic tool to treat several ailments, acupuncture still faces the challenge of scrutiny by Western science both in terms of its efficacy and in terms of the characterization of its effects and mechanisms of actions underlying these effects. We investigated under well-controlled and carefully characterized conditions the influence of electrical stimulation of acupuncture points ST-36 (Zusanli) and SP-6 (Sanyinjiao) on the myoelectric activity of the small intestine of 38 adult male Wistar rats. Electrical recordings obtained by means of four electrodes chronically implanted in the small intestine were used to assess the effects of acupuncture (electroacupuncture stimulation set at 2 Hz, intermittent stimulation, 1 V, for 30 min). Immobilization of the animals was associated with a consistent decrease (-8 +/- 7%) in the myoelectric activity of the small intestine as measured by means of the root mean square. Conversely, acupuncture was able to significantly increase (overshoot) this activity compared to baseline (+44 +/- 7%). In contrast, immobilized animals subjected to sham acupuncture had only modest (nonsignificant) increases in myoelectric activity (+9 +/- 6%). Using carefully controlled conditions we confirmed previous noncontrolled studies on the ability of acupuncture to alter intestinal motility. The characterization of the topographic and temporal profiles of the effects observed here represents a basis for future dissection of the physiological and pharmacological systems underlying these effects.