As one of the important treatments of health care and anti-aging in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), moxibustion has been proved to have the effects of scavenging free radicals, anti-oxidation, reducing inflammatory reaction, regulating immunity and so on. Recent studies have shown that intestinal microbiota affect the process of aging. The relationship between aging, moxibustion and intestinal microbiota is still unclear.
In this study, we explored the effects of moxibustion at Guanyuan (RN4) acupoint on intestinal microbiota, short-chain fatty acids and immunological characteristics of young and elder female Wistar rats to explore the relationship between aging, moxibustion and intestinal microbiota. Six 12-week-old female Wistar rats were young group (Y), and twelve 36-week-old female Wistar rats were randomly divided into elder group (C) and moxibustion group (M). The rats in M group were received mild moxibustion at Guanyuan (RN4) acupoint, 20 min/d for 40 days.
The rats in Y group and C group were not given any therapeutic intervention. The results showed that moxibustion increased the abundance of intestinal probiotics (mainly Lactobacillus) and the level of short chain fatty acids, the microcirculation blood flow around Guanyuan (RN4) acupoint was also significantly improved in elder rats.
In addition, the expression of MyD88, MAPK, TRAF6, NF-κB in intestinal tissue was down-regulated, and the levels of inflammatory cytokines in intestinal were decreased.