Effects of acupuncture and moxibustion in a mouse model of allergic rhinitis

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2012 Jan;146(1):19-25. doi: 10.1177/0194599811421736. Epub 2011 Oct 20.


Objective: In this study, the authors examined the effects of acupuncture and moxibustion on the expression of various inflammatory cells and mediators in the nasal mucosa of an allergic rhinitis (AR) animal model.

Study design: Randomized controlled animal study.

Setting: Animal laboratory in a Dongguk University.

Subjects and methods: Twenty-eight BALB/c mice were divided into 4 groups: control, levocetirizine (Lcz), moxibustion (Mox), and acupuncture (Acu). To induce AR, mice were intraperitoneally sensitized to ovalbumin (OVA) and challenged with intranasal OVA. At 7 days following the final sensitization and every day for a further 7 days, the Lcz group was orally administered levocetirizine (50 mg/kg), the Mox group was subjected to 5 seconds of moxibustion stimulation at the juncture of the medial canthus and nostril, and the Acu group was subjected to 30 seconds of acupuncture stimuli at the same point. The authors measured the degree of positive reaction to substance P, STAT6, nuclear factor kappa B (NFκB), and iNOS via immunohistochemical staining of the nasal mucosa.

Results: The degree of positive reaction to substance P, STAT6, NFκB, and iNOS was markedly decreased in the treatment groups compared to that in the control group. Notably, the above indices were most significantly decreased in the Acu group, followed by the Mox group and then the Lcz group (P = .000).

Conclusion: In an allergic rhinitis animal model, acupuncture and moxibustion are shown to exhibit an antiallergic effect and exert their effects by reducing the expression of substance P, STAT6, NFκB, and iNOS.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy / methods*
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Moxibustion / methods
  • Nasal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II / metabolism
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial / metabolism
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial / therapy*
  • STAT6 Transcription Factor / metabolism
  • Substance P / metabolism
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers
  • STAT6 Transcription Factor
  • Stat6 protein, mouse
  • Substance P
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • NF-kappa B kinase