Using a severe acute pancreatitis (SAP) rat model, the mechanism of electroacupuncture were studied on the intestinal function of pancreatitis.
The SAP models were established by injecting 30% L-ornithine at hourly intervals, and were divided into two groups (14 in each): SAP model group, which was not treated, and electroacupuncture group, which received electroacupuncture at Zusanli (ST 36) at a frequency of 1-2 Hz and amplitude of 1 mA for 30 min twice a day.
Fourteen rats were also included as the control group. After electroacupuncture, the intestinal propulsion was measured. In the distal ileum myenteric plexus, the density of HuC/D and the proportion of cholinergic neurons were measured using immunohistochemistry.
Compared to the SAP model group, the electroacupuncture group demonstrated significant improvements in intestinal propulsion rates. Furthermore, after electroacupuncture, the density of myenteric neurons in the ileum returned to normal levels and the proportion of cholinergic neurons was increased compared to the SAP model group. And finally, electroacupuncture alleviated the damage to the pancreas.
Thus, our results suggest that electroacupuncture stimulation at Zusanli (ST 36) can partly restore the enteric neuron function and improve intestinal motility dysfunction, therefore could ameliorate SAP. The enteric nervous system can participate in changes in intestinal motility by affecting cholinergic neurons.