Medical Research

Inflammation IL-6 , Electroacupuncture and HRV

Kristen Sparrow • June 03, 2020 Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2013 Oct;25(10):807-e635. doi: 10.1111/nmo.12183. Epub 2013 Jul 12.

Electroacupuncture improves burn-induced impairment in gastric motility mediated via the vagal mechanism in rats.

Song J1, Yin J, Sallam HS, Bai T, Chen Y, Chen JD.


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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.