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Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 51, Issue 8, pp 1493–1500 | Cite as

Electroacupuncture Elicits Dual Effects: Stimulation of Delayed Gastric Emptying and Inhibition of Accelerated Colonic Transit Induced by Restraint Stress in Rats

  • Masahiro Iwa
  • Yukiomi Nakade
  • Theodore N. Pappas
  • Toku Takahashi
Original Paper

Abstract

Acupuncture has been used for treating functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. Animal studies have demonstrated that acupuncture antagonized various stress-induced responses. We investigated the effects of electroacupuncture (EA) at ST-36 (Zusanli; lower limb) on stress-induced alteration of GI motor activities. Solid gastric emptying was significantly delayed by restraint stress (29.6±2.4%; n=7) compared to that of controls (60.0±2.5%; n=8). Delayed gastric emptying was significantly improved by EA at ST-36 (47.2±1.8%). Intracisternal (IC) injection of corticotropin releasing factor (CRF; 1 μg) delayed gastric emptying to 25.4±3.1%, which was also improved by EA at ST-36, to 53.0±7.1% (n=8). The stimulatory effect of EA on stress-induced delayed gastric emptying was abolished by atropine (17.6±1.9%) but not by guanethidine (42.2±2.3%). Colonic transit was significantly accelerated by restraint stress (GC=7.2±0.3; n=8) compared to that of controls (GC=5.2±0.2; n=8). Accelerated colonic transit was significantly reduced by EA at ST-36 (GC=4.9±0.3). IC injection of CRF accelerated colonic transit (GC=6.9±0.2), which was also normalized by EA at ST-36 (GC=4.7±0.2). The inhibitory effect of EA on stress-induced acceleration of colonic transit was not affected by guanethidine (GC=4.6±0.3). In conclusion, EA at ST-36 showed dual effects: stimulation of stress-induced delayed gastric emptying and inhibition of stress-induced acceleration of colonic transit. The stimulatory effect of EA on stress-induced delayed gastric emptying is mediated via cholinergic pathways. The inhibitory effect of EA on stress-induced acceleration of colonic transit is independent of the sympathetic pathway.

Keywords

Colonic transit Corticotropin releasing factor Electroacupuncture Gastric emptying Restraint stress 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was supported in part by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (DK55808; T.T.) and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (AT 001588; T.T.).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masahiro Iwa
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yukiomi Nakade
    • 1
  • Theodore N. Pappas
    • 1
  • Toku Takahashi
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of SurgeryDuke University and Durham Veterans Affairs Medical CenterDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Department of Health Promoting Acupuncture and MoxibustionMeiji University of Oriental Medicine Hiyoshi-choFunai-gunJapan
  3. 3.Department of SurgerySurgical Service 112, VA Medical CenterDurhamUSA

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