Kristen Sparrow • May 11, 2019
This study looks at moxibustion, warm needle moxibustion in elderly rats to see effect on their gonads. It appears that there is an anti-aging effect in the testes which originates in the pituitary. Since the HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) axis is key in stress response, this, of course interests me. Also because of acupuncture’s claims in leading to longevity.
To observe the effect of warm needle moxibustion (WNM), mild moxibustion and electroacupuncture (EA) of “Shenshu” (BL23) and “Guanyuan” (CV4) on serum gonadal hormone levels and related gene expression in the hypothalamus and testis in aged rats, so as to explore their underlying mechanisms in anti-aging.
Forty male SD male rats were randomly divided into aged control, WNM, mild moxibustion, EA and medication groups (n ＝ 8 in each group), and other 8 male young adult SD rats were used as the youth control group. WNM (acupuncture plus moxibustion), mild moxibustion or EA (2 Hz /100 Hz, 1 mA) was separately applied to CV4 and bilateral BL23 for 15 min, once daily, 5 days a week for 8 weeks. Rats of the medication group received subcutaneous injection of testosterone propionate injection (7 mg/kg), once every 3 days, and those of the aged and youth groups received the same dose of 0.9% NaCl solution for 8 weeks. The levels of serum testoste-rone (T) and gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) were measured by ELISA. The expression of Kisspeptin (KISS-1), G protein-coupled receptors 54 (GPR54), RFamide-related peptide-3 (RFRP-3) and GPR147 mRNAs in the hypothalamus and GnRH-R, GPR54 and GPR147 mRNAs in the testis tissues were detected by quantitative real-time PCR.
The levels of serum T and GnRH, and the expressions of KISS-1, GPR54, RFRP-3 and GPR147 mRNAs in the hypothalamus and GnRH-R and GPR54 mRNAs in the testis in the aged rats were significantly lower than those in the youth rats (P<0.05), while the expression level of GPR147 mRNA of the testis tissue was obviously higher in the aged group than that in the youth group (P<0.05). Follo-wing the treatment, the lowered serum T and GnRH contents, the down-regulated expression levels of hypothalamic KISS-1, GPR54, RFRP-3 and GPR147 mRNAs and testicle GnRH-R and GPR54 mRNAs, as well as the up-regulated testicle GPR147 mRNA expression in the aged rats were reversed in the WNM, mild moxibustion and EA groups (not the medication group except serum T) in comparison with the aged control group (P<0.05). The therapeutic effects of WNM, mild moxibustion and EA were significantly superior to those of medication in up-regulating serum GnRH content and expression levels of KISS-1, GPR54, RFRP-3 and GPR147 mRNAs in the hypothalamus and GnRH-R, GPR54 and GPR147 mRNAs in the testis (P<0.05). No significant differences were found among the WNM, mild moxibustion and EA groups in serum T and GnRH contents, and the expression levels of KISS-1, GPR54, RFRP-3 and GPR147 mRNAs in the hypothalamus and GnRH-R and GPR54 and GPR147 mRNAs in the testis (P>0.05)．.
The WNM, mild moxibustion and EA therapies have an anti-aging effect by increasing serum T and GnRH levels in aged rats, which is possibly related to their effects in up-regulating the expression of hypothalamic KISS-1, GPR54, RFRP-3 and GPR147 mRNAs and testicle GnRH-R and GPR54 mRNAs, as well as down-regulating testicle GPR147 mRNA expression. The therapeutic effect of WNM, mild moxibustion and EA is evidently superior to that of medication.