Objective To investigate the contributions of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and adenosine diphosphate (ADP) to the increase in skeletal muscle blood flow (MBF) observed following manual acupuncture (MA) stimulation in rats.
Methods Male Sprague-Dawley rats were used as experimental animals (300–370 g, n=40). MA was applied to the right tibialis anterior muscle (TA) for 1 min using a stainless steel acupuncture needle. In eight rats, high-performance liquid chromatography with the microdialysis technique was used to measure local extracellular concentrations of ATP, ADP, adenosine monophosphate (AMP), and adenosine in the TA. In the remaining 32 rats, fluorescent microspheres (15 µm in diameter) were used to measure MBF in the TA following pre-treatment with either the P2 receptor antagonist suramin (100 mg/kg intra-arterially) or saline (control) (n=16 each). Rats receiving MA (Suramin+MA and Saline+MA groups, n=8 each) were compared with untreated rats (Suramin and Saline groups, n=8).
Results MA significantly increased the local extracellular concentration of ATP, ADP, and adenosine (p<0.05, before MA vs 30 min after MA). In addition, MA significantly increased MBF in rats pre-treated with saline or suramin (p<0.01, Saline vs Saline+MA; p<0.05, Suramin vs Suramin+MA, respectively). However, suramin significantly suppressed this MA-induced increase in MBF (p<0.05, Saline+MA vs Suramin+MA).
Conclusions These results suggest that both ATP and ADP partially contribute to the MA-induced increase in MBF via P2 receptors. However, further studies are needed to clarify the contributions of other vasodilators.
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