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Neural Regen Res. 2016 Mar;11(3):465-8. doi: 10.4103/1673-5374.179060.

"Warming yang and invigorating qi" acupuncture alters acetylcholine receptor expression in the neuromuscular junction of rats with experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis.

Author information

1
School of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Changchun University of Chinese Medicine, Changchun, Jilin Province, China.
2
Graduate School of Changchun University of Chinese Medicine, Changchun, Jilin Province, China.

Abstract

Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disorder in which antibodies have been shown to form against the nicotinic acetylcholine nicotinic postsynaptic receptors located at the neuromuscular junction. "Warming yang and invigorating qi" acupuncture treatment has been shown to reduce serum inflammatory cytokine expression and increase transforming growth factor beta expression in rats with experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis. However, few studies have addressed the effects of this type of acupuncture on the acetylcholine receptors at the neuromuscular junction. Here, we used confocal laser scanning microscopy to examine the area and density of immunoreactivity for an antibody to the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor at the neuromuscular junction in the phrenic nerve of rats with experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis following "warming yang and invigorating qi" acupuncture therapy. Needles were inserted at acupressure points Shousanli (LI10), Zusanli (ST36), Pishu (BL20), and Shenshu (BL23) once daily for 7 consecutive days. The treatment was repeated after 1 day of rest. We found that area and the integrated optical density of the immunoreactivity for the acetylcholine receptor at the neuromuscular junction of the phrenic nerve was significantly increased following acupuncture treatment. This outcome of the acupuncture therapy was similar to that of the cholinesterase inhibitor pyridostigmine bromide. These findings suggest that "warming yang and invigorating qi" acupuncture treatment increases acetylcholine receptor expression at the neuromuscular junction in a rat model of autoimmune myasthenia gravis.

KEYWORDS:

acetylcholine receptor; acupuncture; experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis; myasthenia gravis; nerve regeneration; neural regeneration; neuromuscular junction; “Warming yang and invigorating qi”

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