Lasers in Medical Science

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 469–477 | Cite as

Regulation of the cardiovascular function by CO2 laser stimulation in anesthetized rats

  • Thomas Friedemann
  • Xueyong Shen
  • Jürgen Bereiter-Hahn
  • Wolfgang Schwarz
Original Article


Physical stimulation of body surface points is known to affect various organ functions. In traditional Chinese medicine, so-called acupoints were defined. These points can be physically stimulated to effectively treat various diseases. Here we describe for the first time the effect of CO2 laser stimulation at the acupoints Neiguan (PC-6), Quchi (LI-11), Zusanli (ST-36), and Taichong (LR-3) on heart rate and mean arterial blood pressure in anesthetized rats. CO2 laser stimulation increased the skin surface temperature to 54°C. Our results revealed that the laser stimulation at the left or right PC-6 and LR-3 increased heart rate and mean arterial pressure. There was no response of heart rate and mean arterial pressure during and after stimulation of the left LI-11, but laser stimulation at the right LI-11 slightly increased heart rate and mean arterial pressure. On the other hand, laser stimulation at the left and right ST-36 decreased heart rate and mean arterial pressure. The effects on mean arterial pressure were more pronounced than those on heart rate. After full spinal cord transection, all heart-rate and mean-arterial-pressure responses were attenuated or completely abolished. These results suggest that CO2 laser stimulation at either the left or right PC-6, ST-36, and LR-3, as well as at the right LI-11 can modulate the cardiovascular functions in anesthetized rats, and its modulatory site might be supraspinal.


CO2 laser Blood pressure Heart rate Spinalization Rat 



LU-5 (Lung 5)


PC-6 (Pericardium 6)


LI-11 (Large intestine 11)


ST-36 (Stomach 36)


LR-3 (Liver 3)


Blood pressure


Central nervous system


Cardiovascular disease




Heart rate


Infrared laser stimulation


Mean arterial blood pressure


Standard error of the mean



We gratefully acknowledge the very helpful comments from Dr. Harumi Hotta on a previous version of the manuscript. TF is very grateful to Dr. Weimin Li for introducing him into the scientific research on the autonomic nervous system, and to the “Freunde und Foerderer” of Goethe University for travel support. The project was partially supported by the 973 Program of China (2009CB522901), the Shanghai Science and Technology Developing Foundation (08DZ1973000), and the Key Program of State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine of China.


  1. 1.
    Tindle HA, Davis RB, Phillips RS, Eisenberg DM (2005) Trends in use of complementary and alternative medicine by US adults: 1997–2002. Altern Ther Health Med 11:42–49PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bao YX, Lu HH, Yu GR, Zheng DS, Cheng BH, Pan CC (1981) The immediate effect on acute myocardial infarction treated by puncturing Neiguan. Chin Acupunct Moxib 1:2–5Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Richter A, Herlitz J, Hjalmarson A (1991) Effect of acupuncture in patients with angina pectoris. Eur Heart J 12:175–178PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Chen SZ (1994) The comparative observations on the effects of puncturing Jianshi and Neiguan on the left cardiac function of patients with coronary disease. Clin J Acupunct Moxib 10:30–32Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Sato A (1997) Neural mechanisms of autonomic responses elicited by somatic sensory stimulation. Neurosci Behav Physiol 27:610–621PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Lu JX, Zhou PH, Wang J, Li X, Cao YX, Zhou X, Zhu DN (2004) Medullary ventrolateral nitric oxide mediates the cardiac effect of electroacupuncture at "Neiguan" acupoint on acute myocardial ischemia in rats. Acta Physiol Sin 56:503–508Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Xia XM, Chen J, Wang J, Fan MX, Xiao F, Cao YX, Li L, Shen LL, Zhu DN (2008) Differential expressions of nNOS and iNOS in the rostral ventrolateral medulla induced by electroacupuncture in acute myocardial ischemia rats. Acta Physiol Sin 60:453–461Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Gao J, Zhang L, Wang Y, Lu B, Cui H, Fu W, Wang H, Yu Y, Yu X (2008) Antiarrhythmic effect of acupuncture pretreatment in rats subjected to simulative global ischemia and reperfusion - involvement of adenylate cyclase, protein kinase A, and L-type Ca2+ channel. J Physiol Sci 58:389–398PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Huang YL, Fan MX, Wang J, Li L, Lu N, Cao YX, Shen LL, Zhu DN (2005) Effects of acupuncture on nNOS and iNOS expression in the rostral ventrolateral medulla of stress-induced hypertensive rats. Acupunct Electrother Res 30:263–273PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kim JI, Kim YS, Kang SK, Kim C, Park C, Lee MS, Huh Y (2008) Electroacupuncture decreases nitric oxide synthesis in the hypothalamus of spontaneously hypertensive rats. Neurosci Lett 446:78–82PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Ohsawa H, Okada K, Nishijo K, Sato Y (1995) Neural mechanism of depressor response of arterial pressure elicited by acupuncture-like stimulation to a hind limb in anesthetized rats. J Auton Nerv Syst 51:27–35PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Friedemann T, Li WM, Wang ZJ (2009) Inhibitory regulation of blood pressure by manual acupuncture in the anesthetized rat. Auton Neurosci 151:178–182PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Uchida S, Kagitani F, Hotta H (2008) Mechanism of the reflex inhibition of heart rate elicited by acupuncture-like stimulation in anesthetized rats. Auton Neurosci 143:12–19PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hotta H, Schmidt RF, Uchida S, Watanabe N (2010) Gentle mechanical skin stimulation inhibits the somatocardiac sympathetic C-reflex elicited by excitation of unmyelinated C-afferent fibers. Eur J Pain 14:806–813PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Uchida S, Suzuki A, Kagitani F, Nakajima K, Aikawa Y (2003) Effect of moxibustion stimulation of various skin areas on cortical cerebral blood flow in anesthetized rats. Am J Chin Med 31:611–621PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Kaufman A, Sato A, Sato Y, Sugimoto H (1977) Reflex changes in heart rate after mechanical and thermal stimulation of the skin at various segmental levels in cats. Neuroscience 2:103–109PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Treede RD, Meyer RA, Raja SN, Campbell JN (1995) Evidence for two different heat transduction mechanisms in nociceptive primary afferents innervating monkey skin. J Physiol 483:747–758PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Deng LY, Gan YJ, He SH, Ji XP, Li Y, Wang RF, Wang WJ, Wang XT, Xu HZ, Xue XL, Yuan JL (1999) In: Cheng X (ed) Chinese acupuncture and moxibustion. Foreign Language Press, BeijingGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Kimura A, Ohsawa H, Sato A, Sato Y (1995) Somatocardiovascular reflexes in anesthetized rats with the central nervous system intact or acutely spinalized at the cervical level. Neurosci Res 22:297–305PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Abbott A, Ball WJ (1992) The inhibitory monoclonal-antibody m7-pb-e9 stabilizes e(2) conformational states of na+, k+−atpase. Biochemistry 31:11236–11243PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Deadman P, Al Khafaj M (1998) A manual of acupuncture. J Chin Med Pub 18:MonographyGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Zhang E (1990) Chinese acupuncture and moxibustion. Publishing House of Shanghai College of Traditional MedicineGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Lumpkin EA, Caterina MJ (2007) Mechanisms of sensory transduction in the skin. Nature 445:858–865PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Bromm B, Treede RD (1983) CO2 laser radiant heat pulses activate C nociceptors in man. Pfluegers Arch 399:155–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Brugmans MJ, Kemper J, Gijsbers GH, van der Meulen FW, van Gemert MJ (1991) Temperature response of biological materials to pulsed non-ablative CO2 laser irradiation. Lasers Surg Med 11:587–594PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Biehl R, Treede RD, Bromm B (1984) Pain ratings and short radiant heat pulses. In Bromm B (ed) Pain measurement in man. Neurophysiological correlates of pain, 397–408Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Welch A, Torres J, Cheong W (1989) Laser physics and laser-tissue interaction. Tex Heart Inst J 16:141–149PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Li WM, Chen YB, Wang ZJ (2008) Peripheral nerve discharge elicited by manual acupuncture at Zusanli (ST-36) regulates blood pressure in anesthetized rats. J Acupunct Tuina Sci 6:281–283CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Zhang DB, Liu GZ, Hou FG, Liu PY, Tan QW (2000) Observation on blood pressure and rheology of patient with hypertension by Kangwei electro moxibustion at acupoint Zusanli( ST36). Chin Acupunct Moxib 20:685–686Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Kimura A, Sato A, Sato Y, Suzuki H (1996) A- and C-reflex elicited in cardiac sympathetic nerve by single shock to somatic afferent nerves include spinal and supraspinal components in anesthetized rats. Neurosci Res 25:91–96PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Strack AM, Sawyer WB, Marubio LM, Leowy AD (1988) Spinal origin of sympathetic preganglionic neurons in the rat. Brain Res 455:187–191PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Levy MN, Ng NL, Zieske H (1966) Functional distribution of the peripheral cardiac sympathetic pathways. Circ Res 19:650–661PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Irisawa H, Caldwell WM, Wilson MF (1971) Neural regulation of atrioventricular conduction. Jap J Physiol 21:15–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Kamosinska B, Nowicki D, Szulczyk P (1989) Control of the heart rate by sympathetic nerves in cats. J Auton Nerv Syst 26:241–249PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Friedemann
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xueyong Shen
    • 3
  • Jürgen Bereiter-Hahn
    • 2
  • Wolfgang Schwarz
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Shanghai Research Center for Acupuncture and MeridiansShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Institute for Cell BiologyGoethe-UniversityFrankfurt am MainGermany
  3. 3.Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese MedicineShanghaiChina
  4. 4.Institute for BiophysicsGoethe-UniversityFrankfurt am MainGermany

Personalised recommendations