Effect of Electroacupuncture at Zusanli (ST36) on Sepsis Induced by Cecal Ligation Puncture and Its Relevance to Spleen

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2020 Oct 7;2020:1914031. doi: 10.1155/2020/1914031. eCollection 2020.


Background: Acupuncture at Zusanli (ST36), Quchi (LI11), and Tianshu (ST25) is commonly used in septic patients by traditional Chinese physicians. The protective effect of acupuncture at ST36 on the intestinal barrier is associated with Cholinergic Anti-Inflammatory Pathway (CAIP). However, its detailed mechanism and whether acupuncture at LI11 and ST25 have similar effects to ST36 remain unclear.

Aim: To explore the effects of electroacupuncture (EA) at ST36, LI11, and ST25 on septic rats and investigate the role of the spleen in the treatment of EA at ST36.

Methods: A septic rat model caused by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) and a postsplenectomy (SPX) CLP rat model were established. Rats were divided into nine groups depending on different treatments. Serum levels of TNF-α, IL-10, D-lactic acidosis (D-LA), double amine oxidase (DAO), and T-lymphocyte subgroup level in intestinal lymph nodes were compared.

Results: EA could not improve the 2-day survival of CLP rats. For CLP rats, EA at ST36 and LI11 significantly decreased the levels of TNF-α, IL-10, DAO, and D-LA in serum and normalized intestinal T-cell immunity. For SPX CLP rats, EA at ST36 failed to reduce serum concentrations of TNF-α, IL-10, and D-LA but increased the values of CD3+CD4+/CD3+CD8+ cells and Treg/Th17 cells.

Conclusions: EA at ST36 and LI11, respectively, could alleviate inflammation reaction, protect the intestinal barrier, and maintain intestinal T-cell function in septic rats. Spleen participated in the protective effect of EA at ST36 in sepsis.