Objective: To observe the effect of mild moxibustion on the reproductive endocrine in rats with partial androgen deficiency (PAD).
Methods: Thirty male SD rats (aged 12 months) were randomized into control, androlin (testosterone propionate) and moxibustion ["Shenshu" (BL 23), "Mingmen" (GV 4) and 'Guanyuan" (CV 4)] groups. PAD was determined by comparing these aging rats (n=50) with young rats (n=30) in serum total testosterone (TT) and free testosterone (FT) contents which were detected with radioimmunoassay. At the end of experiments, the rats' spleen, testis, thymus, and perirenal fat weight were detected respectively for calculating visceral index (each viscera weight/body weight). The rats' tail suspension tests were conducted for calculating the animal immobility duration in 6 mm, and exhaustion swimming tests carried out for analyzing the duration of exhaustion swimming (from placing them into a water pool to the time when the animal sunk into water for 6 s).
Results: (1) After the treatment, serum TT and FT contents in moxibustion and androlin groups increased significantly compared with pretherapy in each group (P < 0.01) and compared with control group (P < 0.05, 0.01). (2) Results of rats' tail suspension tests displayed that after the therapy, the duration of immobility in moxibustion and androlin groups decreased markedly in comparison with pre-treatment of each group (P < 0.05) and with control group (androlin group, P < 0.05). (3) Compared with control group, the duration of exhaustion swimming of moxibustion and androlin groups increased considerably (P < 0.01). No significant differences were found between moxibustion and androlin groups in serum TT and FT levels, immobility duration and the duration of exhaustion swimming (P > 0.05). (4) Compared with control group, the indexes of thymus and testis raised remarkably, and that of perirenal fat lowered evidently (P < 0.05, 0.01), while no significant difference was found between moxibustion and androlin groups in indexes of thymus, testis and perirenal fat (P > 0.05). There existed significant correlation between visceral index (thymus, testis and perirenal fat) and serum TT and FT levels respectively (P < 0.01), and between the duration of immobility and exhaustion swimming and serum TT and FT levels separately (P < 0.01).
Conclusion: Mild moxibustion may prevent blood TT and FT levels from decline, reduce fat accumulation in the abdomen, regulate immune function, improve the depression state and myodynamia in the aging rats, which is comparable to the effects of testosterone propionate.