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[Effect of Acupuncture on Histology of Thymus and Expressions of ANP and NPR-A in Anxiety Rats].

[Article in Chinese]



To explore possible mechanism of electroacupuncture (EA) for regulating immune function in anxiety disorder (AD) rats by observing the effect of acupuncture on the histology of thymus and expressions of atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) and natriuretic peptide receptor type A (NPR- A) in thymus.


Totally 34 SD healthy rats were randomly divided into the blank control group (n = 10), the model group (n = 12), the EA group (n = 12). Anxiety model was established in rats of the model group and the EA group by using chronic unpredictable stress (CUS) stimulation. EA (15/25 Hz) at Neiguan (PC6) and Shenmen (HT7) was performed in the EA group, with 15-min needle retaining, once every other day, 15 days in total. Needle was fixed at same acupoints for 15 min without electric stimulus in the other two groups. Anxiety-like behavior was measured by elevated plus-maze (EPM) test. Pathological changes of thymus tissue were observed by optical microscope. Expressions of ANP and NPR-A in thymus were measured by immunohistochemical assay.


The thymus tissue in the model group was severely atrophied, with unclear structure of thymic lobules, unclear margin of thymic medulla, loosely arranged lymphocytes ,and obviously enlarged volume of thymic corpuscle. The thymus tissue in the EA group was mildly atrophied, with existent structure of thymic lobules, clear margin of thymic medulla, densely arranged lymphocytes in cortical region, and widened medullary area. Com- pared with the blank control group, the percentage of open-arms entries (OE%) in the total QE times ob- viously decreased in the model group (P < 0.05), ANP expression obviously increased (P < 0.05), and NPR-A expression obviously decreased (P < 0.01). Compared with the model group, OE% was obviously elevated (P < 0.05), ANP expression obviously decreased (P < 0.05), and NPR-A expression obviously increased (P < 0.01) in the EA group.


EA not only could reduce anxiety of rats, but also could improve chronic stress induced thymus injury through intervening synthesis and secretion of ANP, as well as the expression of NPR-A (a specific receptor of ANP).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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