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Brain Res. 2006 May 9;1088(1):101-8. Epub 2006 May 2.

Electro-acupuncture attenuates stress-induced defecation in rats with chronic visceral hypersensitivity via serotonergic pathway.

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School of Chinese Medicine, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong SAR.


Acupuncture has long been used for patients with irritable bowel syndrome. However, it has remained unclear. The aim of this study was to testify the effect of electro-acupuncture(EA) on (1) visceral hypersensitivity induced by the mechanical colorectal irritation during postnatal development of rats, and (2) stress-induced colonic motility changes on rats with chronic visceral hypersensitivity. The abdominal withdrawal reflex (pain threshold and score) for visceral hypersensitivity and fecal pellet output for motor dysfunction were selected as two indexes for measurement. In addition, the effect of EA on 5-HT(4a) receptor and serotonin transporter (SERT) expression in the colon mucosa was analyzed semi-quantitatively through immunohistochemistry and 5-HT concentration in the colon tissue was observed through spectro-photo-fluorimeter detection, respectively. Our results showed that EA significantly elevated pain threshold, decreased the scores and also decreased fecal pellet output during water avoid stress. Furthermore, EA decreased 5-HT concentration in colon in rats with CVH and CVH rats with water avoidance stress, and increased the 5-HT(4a) and SERT expression in rats with CVH. Thus, it can be concluded that EA attenuates behavioral hyperalgesia and stress-induced colonic motor dysfunction in CVH rats via serotonergic pathway.

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