Electroacupuncture at ST-36 relieves visceral hypersensitivity and decreases 5-HT3 receptor level in the colon in chronic visceral hypersensitivity rats

  • Dan Chu
  • Pengfei Cheng
  • Huiling Xiong
  • Junjun Zhang
  • Shi LiuEmail author
  • Xiaohua Hou
Original Article



Visceral hypersensitivity is an important pathological mechanism of irritable bowel syndrome. Electroacupuncture (EA) could relieve chronic visceral hypersensitivity (CVH) in rats. However, little information is available about the mechanism. The aim of this study was to confirm the effects of EA at acupoint ST-36 (Zusanli) on CVH induced by the chemical colorectal irritation during postnatal development of rats, and to explore the possible 5-HT3 receptor mechanism.


Rats were randomized into four groups, including the normal control group, CVH group, CVH with EA group, and CVH with sham EA group. The abdominal electromyogram (EMG) in response to colorectal distension was selected as the index for measurement of visceral hypersensitivity. 5-HT3 receptors were analyzed through reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction and western blot.


EA at ST-36 significantly decreased evoked EMG. The expression of 5-HT3 receptor in the colon was increased in rats with CVH, and decreased after EA treatment.


EA at acupoint ST-36 attenuates CVH in rats and decreases 5-HT3 receptor level in the colon. Decreased 5-HT3 receptor level in the colon may mediate the beneficial effect of EA in rats with CVH.


Electroacupuncture ST-36 Visceral hypersensitivity Colorectal distension 5-HT3 receptor 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dan Chu
    • 1
  • Pengfei Cheng
    • 1
  • Huiling Xiong
    • 1
  • Junjun Zhang
    • 1
  • Shi Liu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Xiaohua Hou
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Gastroenterology, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical CollegeHuazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhanChina

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