Objective: To observe the effect of electroacupuncture on the expression of myocardial protein kinase B (Akt) and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) in acute myocardial ischemia rats.
Methods: Thirty male SD rats were randomly divided into control, model and electroacupuncture groups (n=10 in each group). The acute myocardial ischemia model was established by occlusion of the descending anterior branch (DAB) of the left coronary artery. Electroacupuncture (2 Hz, 1-2 mA) was applied to bilateral Shenmen (HT 7) and Tongli (HT 5) for 20 min, once daily for consecutive 7 days.
The electrocardiogram (ECG) of nape-xiphoid lead was recorded for assessing changes of myocardial ischemia. Histopathologic changes of the ischemic myocardial tissue were observed after H.E. staining and ultra-microstructural changes of cardiomyocytes observed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The expression levels of Akt, phosphorylated-Akt (p-Akt), mTOR and phosphorylated-mTOR (p-mTOR) in the myocardium were detected by Western blot, followed by calculating the ratios of p-Akt/Akt and p-mTOR/mTOR.
Results: Following ligature of DAB, the ECG-ST level was significantly increased in the model group in comparison with the control group (P<0.01). At 30 min after treatment, the ECG-ST level decreased significantly compared with the model group (P<0.01). At the end of the 7-day treatment period, the ECG-ST level increased compared with the model group (P<0.05).
The levels of myocardial p-Akt and p-mTOR protein expression, and the ratios of p-Akt/Akt and p-mTOR/mTOR were significantly lower in the model group than those in the control group (P<0.01), and considerably increased in the electroacupuncture group than in the model group (P<0.01).
No significant differences were found among the three groups in the expression levels of Akt and mTOR proteins (P>0.05). Outcomes of H.E. staining and TEM showed damage of mitochondria and occurrence of a large number of autophagosomes in myocardiocytes in the model group, which was milder in the EA group.
Conclusion: Electroacupuncture at Tongli (HT 5) and Shenmen (HT 7) can improve acute myocardial ischemia in acute myocardial ischemia rats, which may be related to its effect in facilitating Akt/mTOR signaling.