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Neuromodulation. 2017 Dec;20(8):767-773. doi: 10.1111/ner.12602. Epub 2017 Apr 10.

Inhibitory Effects and Mechanisms of Electroacupuncture via Chronically Implanted Electrodes on Stress-Induced Gastric Hypersensitivity in Rats With Neonatal Treatment of Iodoacetamide.

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Veterans Research and Education Foundation, VA Medical Center, Oklahoma City, OK, USA.
Department of Physiology, University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, Oklahoma City, OK, USA.
Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, The First Affiliated Hospital with Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China.
Digestive Disease Center, Beijing Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine Affiliated to Capital Medical University, Beijing, China.
Center of Neurogastroenterology, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.



Stress is considered an independent factor causing and aggravating gastrointestinal symptoms, including visceral pain. The aim of this study was to investigate effects and mechanisms of electroacupuncture (EA) on stress-induced gastric hypersensitivity in rats treated with neonatal iodoacetamide mimicking human functional dyspepsia (FD).


Neonatal rats were treated with gavage of 0.2 mL of 0.1% iodoacetamide in 2% sucrose daily for six days starting on tenth day after birth. The control group was given 0.2 mL of 2% sucrose. When the rats were eight weeks old, acute restraint stress was performed on them for 90 min. EA at ST36 (ZuSanLi) was performed during the acute stress or 30 min after the stress. Adrenoceptor blocking drugs (propranolol and phentolamine) were injected intraperitoneally 30 min before acute restraint stress to explore possible sympathetic mechanisms. Visceral-motor responses to gastric distention were assessed by electromyogram (EMG).


1) Stress-induced gastric hypersensitivity was significantly more severe in the FD rats, compared to the control rats. It was blocked by the adrenoceptor antagonists. 2) EA inhibited stress-induced gastric hypersensitivity; the preventive effect of EA (given during stress) was more remarkable than the curative effect (given after stress). Stress resulted in a higher sympathovagal ratio and this was suppressed by EA.


Rats treated with neonatal iodoacetamide mimicking FD are more vulnerable to stress. Stress-induced gastric hypersensitivity can be prevented or suppressed by EA at ST36 via the restoration of sympathovagal balance.


Acute restraint stress; autonomic function; electroacupuncture; functional dyspepsia; gastric hypersensitivity

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