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World J Gastroenterol. 2005 Sep 21;11(35):5517-20.

Acupuncture therapy for experimental stomach ulcer and c-Fos expression in rats.

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Neuroinformatics Center, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing 100853, China.



To determine the role of acupuncture therapy in treating experimental gastric ulcer in rats.


Twenty-eight adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into four groups (pre-acupuncture group; acupuncture group; paradistance-acupuncture group; and control group), and pre-acupuncture, paradistance-acupuncture, and control groups received 5 muL acetic acid (200 mL/L HAc) injection after a same course of electroacupuncture (EA) treatment (4 Hz, 0.6 mA, 0.45 ms, 45 min for 4 d). The rats in these three groups recovered within 4 d. The acupuncture group received EA therapy for 4 d, after HAc injection. The stomach was dissected to compare the pathological structures of ulcer. Also c-Fos activation in the nuclei of solitary tract (NTS) was observed under microscope after regular immunohistochemistry staining of brain stem sections.


The number of ulcers was different among the four groups, especially between control group and paradistance-acupuncture group or pre-acupuncture group. In the latter group, the number of ulcers was much less. The gastric ulcer area was consistent with the histopathological results, indicating that pre-acupuncture had an obvious therapeutic effect on gastric ulcers. Acupuncture had a very modest effect and paradistance-acupuncture had no effect on gastric ulcers. No therapeutic effect was found in the control group. Fos-Li neurons in NTS induced by noxious gastric ulcer showed a significant difference between pre-acupuncture and control groups.


Acupuncture before ulceration can obviously alleviate ulcer. The production of c-Fos proves that the vagus nerve mediates the induction of c-Fos in nuclei of solitary tract following experimental ulceration, suggesting that parasympathetic afferents promote the process of noxious visceral stimulation.

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