Objective To investigate the effects of electroacupuncture (EA) treatment on gastric mucosal lesions and the activity of corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) neurons in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus and the central nucleus of the amygdala (CNA) in a rat model of restraint water-immersion stress (RWIS).
Methods 24 male Wistar rats were randomly divided into three groups: normal, RWIS, and RWIS+EA (n=8 per group). Rats in the RWIS group and RWIS+EA group received RWIS for 3 hours. For rats in the RWIS+EA group, EA was applied at ST36 in the bilateral hind legs for 30 min before RWIS. Rats in the normal group did not receive stressors or EA treatment. The gastric mucosal lesions of each rat were evaluated by the erosion index (EI) according to the methods of Guth. The activity of CRH neurons in the PVN and CNA was measured by a dual immunohistochemical test for Fos and CRH in the brain sections.
Results RWIS induced serious gastric mucosal lesions. The mean gastric EI was significantly decreased in the RWIS+EA group versus the RWIS group (P=0.005). Stress induced significant activation of CRH neurons in the PVN and CNA compared with the normal group (P<0.001 for both). The mean number of Fos+CRH immunoreactive neurons in the PVN and CNA were both decreased inRWIS+EA versusRWIS groups (P<0.001 and P=0.001).
Conclusions EA at ST36 can ameliorate RWIS-induced gastric mucosal lesions and suppress the Fos expression of CRH neurons in the PVN and CNA, suggesting a potentially therapeutic role for EA in stress-related gastric disorders.
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FH and HA contributed equally.
Contributors FH and HA designed the study and performed most of the experimental work. FH drafted the manuscript. FH, HA and MW revised the manuscript. XG and MW participated in data analysis and laboratory work. All authors approved the final version accepted for publication.
Funding This study was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 31571104) and the Natural Science Foundation of Shandong Province (grant no. No. ZR2014CM019).
Competing interests None declared.
Ethics approval All protocols were approved by the Animal Experimental Ethics Committee of Shandong Normal University (reference no. AEECSDNU2017001) and were conducted in accordance with the National Institutes of Health’s ‘Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals’.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data sharing statement No additional unpublished data are available.
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