Moxibustion at Tianshu (ST 25) helps ulcerative colitis

Long noncoding RNA (lncRNAs) are involved in the pathogenesis of ulcerative colitis. Moxibustion, a traditional Chinese medicine, can improve symptoms in patients with ulcerative colitis and reduce intestinal inflammation in rats with ulcerative colitis. However, it remains unclear whether the ameliorative effect of moxibustion on intestinal mucosal inflammation in ulcerative colitis is related to lncRNAs.

Thirty-two rats were randomly assigned to four groups: normal control, ulcerative colitis, moxibustion (MOX), and sulfasalazine (SASP). The UC rat model was induced by administering 4% dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) in drinking water. Rats in the moxibustion group underwent bilateral Tianshu (ST25) moxibustion using the herbs-partition moxibustion method. Rats in the sulfasalazine group received SASP solution via gavage twice daily for seven consecutive days. Our results revealed that, compared with the ulcerative colitis group [2.00 (1.00, 2.50)], the DAI score [0.25 (0.00, 0.50)] was significantly lower in the MOX group (P < 0.05).

Compared with the UC group [13.00 (11.25, 14.00)], the histopathological score [5.50 (4.00, 7.75)] was significantly lower in the MOX group (P < 0.05). In addition, the CMDI and macroscopic scores were decreased in the MOX group (P < 0.05). Moxibustion significantly decreased the protein expression of inflammatory factors TNF-α, IFN-γ, and IL-1β in the colonic tissues of ulcerative colitis rats (P <0.05), thereby suppressing the inflammatory response. Moreover, moxibustion exerted a regulatory influence on colon lncRNA and mRNA expression profiles, upregulating LOC108352929 and downregulating Phf11 in rats with UC (P <0.05). Moxibustion also led to a reduction in the expression and colocalization of Phf11 and NF-κB in the colons of UC rats. Moreover, knockdown of LOC108352929 in rat enteric glial cells demonstrated a significant upregulation of TNF-α mRNA expression (P <0.05).

In summary, these data illustrate that moxibustion effectively ameliorates DSS-induced colonic injury and inflammation while exerting regulatory control over the lncRNA-mRNA co-expression network in UC rats. Collectively, the in vivo and in vitro studies suggested that LOC108352929-Phf11 may serve as a potential biological marker for moxibustion in the treatment of ulcerative colitis.


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About Attilio

Doctor of Chinese medicine, acupuncture expert and author of My Fertility Guide and My Pregnancy Guide.

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