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The effect of electroacupuncture on osteotomy gap healing in a rat fibula model
  1. Motohiro Inoue1,
  2. Miwa Nakajima1,
  3. Tatsuya Hojo2,
  4. Megumi Itoi3,
  5. Hiroshi Kitakoji1
  1. 1Department of Clinical Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Meiji University of Integrative Medicine, Kyoto, Japan
  2. 2Faculty of Health and Sports Science, Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan
  3. 3Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Meiji University of Integrative Medicine, Kyoto, Japan
  1. Correspondence to Motohiro Inoue, Department of Clinical Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Meiji University of Integrative Medicine, Honoda, Hiyoshi-cho, Nantan-city, Kyoto 629-0392, Japan; mo_inoue{at}meiji-u.ac.jp

Abstract

Objective To examine the effect of electroacupuncture (EA) on osteotomy gap healing in a rat fibula model.

Methods A total of 40 12-week-old male Wistar rats underwent unilateral open osteotomy of the fibula to create a 2 mm gap. The rats were randomly assigned to an EA group (n=20) and a control group (n=20). In the EA group, a cathodal electrode was connected to an acupuncture needle percutaneously at the surgery site, while another acupuncture needle inserted 15 mm proximal to the surgery site was used as an anodal electrode. EA was performed 5 days a week for 6 weeks. The control group received no treatment. Some rats were killed at 3 days and 1 week after surgery and the cut end of the distal part of the fibula was surgically removed and histologically assessed. Haematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining was used to measure total cell count and immunohistochemical staining to assess the increase in the bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP-2)-positive cells. The healing process was also assessed weekly after surgery via x-ray examinations.

Results At each time point, total cell count showed a marked increase in the EA group (p<0.05), while BMP-2 expression showed a tendency to increase in the EA group. Radiological examination showed a marked reduction in the distance between the cut ends of the fibula in the EA group.

Conclusions There was a marked increase in cell count and expression of growth factor in the EA group. These results indicate direct current EA could be useful for promoting bone healing.

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