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14 June 2016 : Animal Research  

Effects of Electroacupuncture on Interstitial Cells of Cajal (ICC) Ultrastructure and Connexin 43 Protein Expression in the Gastrointestinal Tract of Functional Dyspepsia (FD) Rats

Guoshan ZhangBCE, Shen XieCD, Wei HuCD, Yuer LiuBD, Mailan LiuDF, Mi LiuDF, Xiaorong ChangAG

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.899023

Med Sci Monit 2016; 22:2021-2027


BACKGROUND: Gastrointestinal motility disorder is the main clinical manifestation in functional dyspepsia (FD) patients. Electroacupuncture is effective in improving gastrointestinal motility disorder in FD; however, the underlying mechanism remains unclear. It has been demonstrated that interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) are pacemaker cells in the gastrointestinal tract, and the pacemaker potential is transmitted to nearby cells through gap junctions between ICC or ICC and the smooth muscle. Therefore, this study aimed to assess the effects of electroacupuncture on ICC ultrastructure and expression of the gap junction protein connexin 43 (Cx43) in FD rats.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: The animals were randomized into 3 groups: control, model, and electroacupuncture. Electroacupuncture was applied at Zusanli (ST36) in the electroacupuncture group daily for 10 days, while no electroacupuncture was applied to model group animals.

RESULTS: Ultrastructure of ICC recovered normally in gastric antrum and small intestine specimens was improved, with Cx43 expression levels in these tissues significantly increased in the electroacupuncture group compared with the model group.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicated that electroacupuncture is effective in alleviating ICC damage and reduces Cx43 levels in FD rats, and suggest that ICC and Cx43 are involved in electroacupuncture treatment in rats with FD to improve gastrointestinal motility disorders.

Keywords: Dyspepsia, Electroacupuncture, Interstitial Cells of Cajal

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Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750
Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750