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Neurosci Lett. 2009 Nov 20;465(3):235-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2009.09.018. Epub 2009 Sep 16.

Electro-acupuncture relieves visceral sensitivity and decreases hypothalamic corticotropin-releasing hormone levels in a rat model of irritable bowel syndrome.

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The Key Unit of Acupuncture-moxibustion and immunological effects, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 650 South Wanping Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai 200030, PR China.


Previous studies into electro-acupuncture (EA) treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have principally focused on the peripheral effects of EA in a rat model of IBS. It is not known whether EA exerts central effects in this rat model. We have examined the effects of EA on hypothalamic corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) levels in a rat model of IBS provoked by colorectal distension (CRD) and forelimb immobilization. EA was administered once daily to IBS model rats over a period of 7 d; untreated IBS rats and controls were also studied. The behavioral response to distension was rated according to the abdominal withdrawal reflex (AWR) score; hypothalamic CRH levels were measured by radioimmunoassay. We report that EA treatment significantly decreased visceral sensitivity to CRD in this rat model. In treated animals, EA also decreased hypothalamic CRH to control levels. Reduced hypothalamic CRH levels may mediate the beneficial effects of EA in this rat IBS model.

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