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Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM

Electrical Stimulation at the ST36 Acupoint Protects against Sepsis Lethality and Reduces Serum TNF Levels through Vagus Nerve- and Catecholamine-Dependent Mechanisms.


PMID 25057275

Abstract

Electrical vagus nerve (VN) stimulation during sepsis attenuates tumor necrosis factor (TNF) production through the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway, which depends on the integrity of the VN and catecholamine production. To characterize the effect of electroacupuncture at ST36 (EA-ST36) on serum TNF, IL-6, nitrite, and HMGB1 levels and survival rates, based on VN integrity and catecholamine production, a sepsis model was induced in rats using cecal ligation and puncture (CLP). The septic rats were subsequently treated with EA-ST36 (CLP+ST36), and serum samples were collected and analyzed for cytokines levels. The serum TNF, IL-6, nitrite, and HMGB1 levels in the CLP+ST36 group were significantly lower compared with the group without treatment, the survival rates were significantly higher (P < 0.05), and the acute organ injury induced by CLP was mitigated by EA-ST36; however, when subdiaphragmatic vagotomy was performed, the serum levels of TNF in the CLP+ST36 group did not show a significant difference compared with the group without electrostimulation, and, similarly, no significant difference in serum TNF levels was found under the pharmacological blockade of catecholamines. These results suggest that in rats with CLP sepsis models EA-ST36 reduces serum TNF levels through VN- and atecholamine-dependent mechanisms.