Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 219–224 | Cite as

Effects of Electro-Acupuncture at Zusanli, Guanyuan for Sepsis Patients and Its Mechanism through Immune Regulation

  • Guang Yang (杨 广)
  • Rui-ying Hu (胡瑞英)
  • Ai-jing Deng (邓霭静)
  • Yu Huang (黄 羽)
  • Jian Li (李 健)Email author
Acupuncture Research



To evaluate the effect of electro-acupuncture on Zusanli (ST 36), Guanyuan (RN 4) in patients with sepsis, and explore its mechanism in term of immune regulation.


In this prospective randomized controlled trial, 60 patients with sepsis were randomly assigned to the control group and the intervention group equally by block randomization. Patients in the control group received routine treatment and those in the intervention group received electro-acupuncture at bilateral Zusanli and Guanyuan in addition to routine treatment, respectively. The mortality at 28 days, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE)-II score were compared to evaluate the effect, and the levels of T cell subsets (CD3+, CD4+, CD8+, CD4+/CD8+) and monocytes of human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR using flow cytometry were compared to explore the mechanism of this combined treatment.


Fifty-eight patients completed the trial with 29 in each group. There was no significant difference of mortality in the 28th day between the two groups, with 5 death of 29 patients in the intervention group (17.2%) and 9 of 29 in the control group (31.0%). After treatment, APACHE-II score of both groups was significantly decreased, however, score of the intervention group was lower than the control group (13.28±7.07 vs. 17.10±5.83; P<0.01). The levels of CD3+, CD4+, CD8+ and CD4+/CD8+ ratio of the intervention group improved after treatment and were higher than the control group (59.71%±11.94% vs. 52.54%±11.86%; 36.46%±7.60% vs. 31.58%±10.23%; 18.40%±8.82% vs. 23.07%±7.30%; 2.38±1.14 vs. 1.54±0.80, respectively; all P<0.05). The expression of HLA-DR significantly increased after treatment in the intervention group than that in the control group (7.28%±9.26% vs. 1.27%±7.00%; P<0.01).


Electro-acupuncture at Zusanli and Guanyuan could improve clinical curative effect in patients with sepsis, which might be achieved by regulation of the immune system.


sepsis electro-acupuncture ST36 RN4 immunohematology clinical trial 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Lagu T, Rothberg MB, Shieh MS, Pekow PS, Steingrub JS, Lindenauer PK. Hospitalizations, costs, and outcomes of severe sepsis in the United States 2003 to 2007. Crit Care Med 2012;40:1–8.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cohen J. The immunopathogenesis of sepsis. Nature 2002;420:885–891.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Xie S, Ling X. Regulative effects of auricular acupuncture, moxibustion and Chinese herbs on immunologic function in the D-galactose-induced aging mouse. J Acupunct Tuina Sci 2011;9:142–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Wu JN, Wu W. Effect of electro-acupuncture treatment on the immune function of patients with sepsis. J Zhejiang Chin Med Univ (Chin) 2013;37:768–770.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Levy MM, Fink MP, Marshall JC, Abraham E, Angus D, Cook D, et al. 2001 SCCM/ESICM/ACCP/ATS/SIS international sepsis definitions conference. Crit Care Med 2003;31:1250–1256.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Dellinger RP, Levy MM, Rhodes A, Annane D, Gerlach H, Opal SM, et al. Surviving sepsis campaign: international guidelines for management of severe sepsis and septic shock, 2012. Intens Care Med 2013;39:165–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Knaus WA, Draper EA, Wagner DP, Zimmerman JE. APACHE: a severity of disease classification system. Crit Care Med 1985;10:818–829.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Zhang J, Feng D, She DY, Xie LX. The clinical application value of severity and prognosis scoring system for patients with sepsis. Acad J Pla Postgrad Med Sch (Chin) 2011;2:225–227.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Condotta SA, Cabrera-Perez J, Badovinac VP, Griffith TS. T-cell-mediated immunity and the role of TRAIL in sepsis-induced immunosuppression. Crit Rev Immunol 2013;33:23–40.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kavoussi B, Ross BE. Neuroimmune basis of anti-inflammatory acupuncture. Integr Cancer Therap 2007;6:251–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Chen WF, Wen Y, Medical immunology. Beijing: People's Medical Publishing House; 2003:98–101.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Zhao NX, Gao W, Huang YX. Effects of electro-acupuncture of "Zusanli" on T lymphocyte subsets in rats. Acupunct Res (Chin) 2001;26:15–18.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Gao W, Huang YX, Chen H, Zhang HX, Sun DY, Wang QL. Effects of electroacupuncture of "Zusanli" on braingut peptide contents in rat pituitary gland and peripheral blood and on the immune system. Acupuncture Res (Chin) 2002;27:50–55.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Todd RT, Nadler LM, Schlossman SF. Antigens on human monocytesidentified by monoclonal antibodies. J Immunol 1981;126:1435–1442.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Cooperative Group of Immunomodulatory Therapy of Sepsis. Clinical trial with a new immunomodulatory strategy: treatment of severe sepsis with Ulinastalin and Maipuxin. Chin Med J (Chin) 2007;87:451–457.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Volk HD, Reinke P, Krausch D, Zuckermann H, Asadullah K, Muller JM, et al. Monocyte deactivation—rationale for a new therapeutic strategy in sepsis. Intens Care Med 1996;22:474–481.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Yang XG, Li Y, Tian XP, Liang FR. Review of method in selecting non-acupoint in acupuncture research at home and abroad. J Tradit Chin Med (Chin) 2009;50:748–750.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Chinese Association of the Integration of Traditional and Western Medicine and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guang Yang (杨 广)
    • 1
  • Rui-ying Hu (胡瑞英)
    • 2
  • Ai-jing Deng (邓霭静)
    • 1
  • Yu Huang (黄 羽)
    • 1
  • Jian Li (李 健)
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Intensive Care UnitGuangdong Provincal Hospital of Traditional Chinese MedicineGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Intensive Care UnitWuhan Hospital of Traditional Chinese MedicineWuhanChina

Personalised recommendations