Kristen Sparrow • May 04, 2014
Delayed gastric emptying (GE) is common in patients with severe burns. This study was designed to investigate effects and mechanisms of electroacupuncture (EA) on gastric motility in rats with burns.
Male rats (intact and vagotomized) were implanted with gastric electrodes, chest and abdominal wall electrodes for investigating the effects of EA at ST-36 (stomach-36 or Zusanli) on GE, gastric slow waves, autonomic functions, and plasma interleukin 6 (IL-6) 6 and 24 h post severe burns.
(i) Burn delayed GE (P < 0.001). Electroacupuncture improved GE 6 and 24 h post burn (P < 0.001). Vagotomy blocked the EA effect on GE. (ii) Electroacupuncture improved burn-induced gastric dysrhythmia. The percentage of normal slow waves was increased with EA 6 and 24 h post burn (P = 0.02). (iii) Electroacupuncture increased vagal activity assessed by the spectral analysis of heart rate variability (HRV). The high-frequency component reflecting vagal component was increased with EA 6 (P = 0.004) and 24 h post burn (P = 0.03, vs sham-EA). (iv) Electroacupuncture attenuated burn-induced increase in plasma IL-6 at both 6 (P = 0.03) and 24 h post burn (P = 0.003).
Electroacupuncture at ST-36 improves gastric dysrhythmia and accelerates GE in rats with burns. The improvement seems to be mediated via the vagal pathway involving the inflammatory cytokine IL-6.