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Int J Sports Med. 2012 Jul;33(7):580-5. doi: 10.1055/s-0032-1301890. Epub 2012 Apr 17.

Moxibustion attenuates inflammatory response to chronic exhaustive exercise in rats.

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College of Acupuncture-Moxibustion and Tui Na, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China.


Exercise is recognized as an activator to elicit an inflammatory response whilst moxibustion in traditional Chinese medicine has been previously found to modulate immune functioning. However, whether moxibustion can alleviate the inflammatory cytokines response to chronic exhaustive exercise remains unknown. In the present study, rats were randomly assigned to a sedentary control group (Sed), a sedentary moxibustion group (Sed + Moxa), and 2 trained groups- one submitted to a 3-week exhaustive swimming (Trained), and the other a trained moxibustion group (Trained + Moxa). We found that chronic exhaustive exercise significantly increased the serum levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, TNF-α, IFN-γ) and the IFN-γ/IL-4 ratio, and decreased the anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-4, IL-10). Moxibustion treatment markedly reduced the serum levels of IL-1β, IFN-γ and the IFN-γ/IL-4 ratio, while elevated the IL-4 and IL-10 productions in trained rats. However, TNF-α level was not significantly affected. Our results suggested that an excessive inflammatory response and a potential inflammatory damage may be involved during chronic exhaustive exercise. Moxibustion could attenuate the inflammatory impairment and have an anti-inflammatory effect. The beneficial effects of moxibustion might be mediated by reducing the pro-inflammatory cytokines, increasing the anti-inflammatory cytokines, and modulating the balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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