via Kurzweil AI
Stimulating the nervous system using small electric current by acupuncture could tamp down systemic inflammation in the body, suggests new research in mice from a team of neuroscientists in the U.S. and China. The research, publishing August 12 in the journal Neuron, helps to map the neuroanatomical underpinnings of this ancient medical practice.
“Most Western medicine has been focusing on blocking the neural pathways of pain to relieve the symptoms, but there are so many pain pathways and so many ways to open each of them,” says senior author Qiufu Ma, a researcher at Harvard Medical School who has been studying the neuroanatomic basis of pain for years. Inspired by the core ideology of traditional Chinese medicine, which is to treat a disease by addressing the root cause, Ma and his team aim to target inflammation, a common source of human diseases and pain.
Previous studies have shown direct vagal nerve stimulations in the neck region can help reduce inflammation, but these experimental approaches require invasive procedures. With this in mind, Ma and his team set out to investigate whether and how electric stimulation using acupuncture, which only involves inserting thin needles through the skin, can modulate inflammation.
The team began by giving mice a 15-minute electroacupuncture at 3 mA at a specific site on the abdomen. This acupoint, dubbed ST25, has been associated with nerves of the spleen, which is a major organ involved in immune responses.
The team then simulated a life-threatening inflammatory condition that is often seen in patients suffering severe bacterial or virus infections by injecting mice with a compound called lipopolysaccharide (LPS). After injecting the treated mice with LPS, researchers found the serum levels of pro-inflammatory molecules in these animals was significantly lower than that of the control group. The mice’s survival rates also more than doubled. However, when the team gave mice the electroacupuncture after the LPS shot, the treated mice had much greater inflammation than those that were untreated and did not survive.
By comparing the effect of electroacupuncture in mice with an altered nervous system, the team determined that high intensity stimulation at the abdomen could excite norepinephrine-producing nerves that connect the spine and spleen. The norepinephrine then activated a particular type of receptors in the spleen that suppressed pro-inflammatory molecules. But when LPS was introduced first, another type of splenic receptors–pro-inflammatory in this case–became highly expressed, and the subsequent electroacupuncture therapy further enhanced inflammation.
“We were really surprised to find that the same input has completely opposite outcomes in different disease stages,” Ma says. “But a lot of the time, a patient would only come to us if they already have the disease. So we wanted to find out if there is a way to reduce inflammation as a treatment.”
The team then conducted electroacupuncture at a different acupoint, this time on mice’s hindlegs. They found stimulation at a low intensity of 0.5 mA for 15 minutes could significantly reduce pro-inflammatory molecule levels either before or after LPS-injection. Mice’s survival rate after electroacupuncture also increased by 1-fold or more. A genetically modified mice model suggests that low-level electroacupuncture at hindlegs reduced inflammation not though the spleen, but a different neural pathway involving the vagus nerves and the adrenal glands.
“Our study illustrated that electroacupuncture has neuroanatomic basis, but its efficacy and safety on humans need to be validated in clinical trials,” Ma says. “There’s still many questions unanswered about this medical practice and thus a lot of room to do more research.”
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Electroacupuncture can improve sleep, study suggestson February 10, 2021 at 10:01 pm
There might be hope. A recent study has found that electroacupuncture can help people suffering from insomnia. Used often in Korean traditional medicine, electroacupuncture involves administering ...
- WAT Medical Enterprise Ltd.: WAT Medical Enterprise Receives FCC Approval for ObeEnd - Wearable Anti-Obesity Deviceon January 19, 2021 at 12:56 pm
Post-Exercise Recovery & Exercise Enhancement: Through electroacupuncture stimulation, which has been clinically demonstrated to improve both exercise performance and post-exercise recovery for ...
- WAT Medical Enterprise Receives FCC Approval for ObeEnd – Wearable Anti-Obesity Deviceon January 18, 2021 at 6:27 am
Post–Exercise Recovery & Exercise Enhancement: Through electroacupuncture stimulation, which has been clinically demonstrated to improve both exercise performance and post-exercise recovery for ...
- Zhongguo zhen jiuon January 17, 2021 at 4:00 pm
[Comparative study on effect of electroacupuncture at lower he-sea point of stomach and he-sea matching front-mu points for gastroparesis]. [Clinical observation of dynamic scalp acupuncture ...
- Dynamic brain-to-brain concordance and behavioral mirroring as a mechanism of the patient-clinician interactionon October 21, 2020 at 12:14 pm
During simultaneous acquisition of blood oxygen level–dependent (BOLD)–fMRI data, the clinician used a button box (4) to apply electroacupuncture (EA) treatment (real/sham, double-blind) to the ...
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Fructose reprogrammes glutamine-dependent oxidative metabolism to support LPS-induced inflammationon February 22, 2021 at 4:56 am
Myeloid cells are able to utilize a variety of monosaccharides from our diet, including fructose. Here the authors show that when monocytes are reliant on fructose as a carbon energy source they are ...
- Polyphenols may provide protective effect against COVID-19 diseaseon February 21, 2021 at 10:07 pm
In the study published in the journal Integrative Physiology, the researchers found that a high intake of polyphenols may have a protective effect on patients with COVID-19 and prevent disease ...
- Chronic Inflammation: When too much of a good thing turns deadlyon February 21, 2021 at 1:39 pm
Chronic inflammatory diseases are the most significant cause of death in the world. The World Health Organization ranks chronic diseases as the greatest threat to human health.” ...
- Rapid antidepressant effects of the psychedelic ayahuasca linked to changes in inflammatory biomarkerson February 18, 2021 at 8:18 pm
The antidepressant effects of the psychedelic brew known as ayahuasca appear to be related to anti-inflammatory activity, according to new research from ...
- University of Louisville doctors talk COVID-19 effects on the hearton February 18, 2021 at 3:29 pm
Local doctors on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic have been battling the virus for about a year, and now say they see it affecting the body's main artery — the heart.