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Am J Physiol. 1999 Jun;276(6 Pt 2):H2127-34.

Naloxone reverses inhibitory effect of electroacupuncture on sympathetic cardiovascular reflex responses.

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Department of Physiology, Shanghai Medical University, Shanghai 200032, People's Republic of China.


Acupuncture and electroacupuncture (EA) have been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat a wide range of diseases and conditions, including angina pectoris and myocardial infarction. In a feline model of reflex-induced reversible myocardial ischemia, electrical stimulation of the median nerves to mimic EA (Neiguan acupoint) significantly improved ischemic dysfunction, secondary to an inhibitory effect of EA on reflex pressor effects evoked by bradykinin (BK). The central mechanism of EA's inhibitory effect in this model is unknown. Accordingly, in alpha-chloralose-anesthetized cats, BK (10 micrograms/ml) was applied to the gallbladder to elicit a cardiovascular reflex response that significantly (P < 0.05) increased arterial blood pressure and heart rate; normalized systolic wall thickening (%WTh) of the left ventricle, measured by ultrasonic single-crystal sonomicrometer, increased by 31 +/- 11% (P < 0.05). After ligation of a side branch of the left anterior descending coronary artery, the reflex pressor response to BK resulted in a significant decrease of %WTh (-32 +/- 6%) in the ischemic region. When bilateral EA of the Neiguan acupoints was performed, the pressor response to BK was inhibited and regional myocardial function was significantly improved (+19 +/- 20%). The inhibitory effects of EA on blood pressure and %WTh were reversed by intravenous injection of naloxone (0.4 mg/kg; n = 9) or microinjection of naloxone (10 nM in 0.1 microliter/site; n = 14) into the rostral ventrolateral medulla (rVLM). Thus %WTh with intravenous naloxone was reduced to -13 +/- 29% (P<0.05) during stimulation of the gallbladder. Our results indicate that the inhibitory effect of EA on the BK-induced pressor response and the consequent improvement of ischemic dysfunction is dependent on the activation of opioid receptors, specifically receptors located in the rVLM.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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