Moxibustion Promotes Formation of Granulation in Wound Healing Process through Induction of Transforming Growth Factor-β in Rats

  • Hiroshi Kawanami
  • Hirohisa Kawahata
  • Hiroko-Miyuki Mori
  • Motokuni AokiEmail author
Original Article



To examine the effect of moxibustion on the wound healing process and its mechanism using a rat wound model.


Sixty male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into a sham-treated group (n=30, wound surgery only) and a moxibustion group (n=30, wound treated with moxibustion). Circular full-thickness skin wounds were produced in rats. Moxibustion was applied to the edge of wound and was continued on alternating days till 14 days after surgery, followed by measurement of wound size. Expression of collagens, prolyl-4-hydroxylase (P4H) and transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) were evaluated by histochemical study and real-time polymerase chain reaction.


The size of the wound lesion was significantly reduced in rats treated with moxibustion as compared to that in sham-treated rats at 4–10 days after wounding (P<0.01). Moxibustion stimulated mRNA expression of collagens at 4 days (P<0.01), but not at 7 days, accompanied by enhanced proliferation of P4H-positive fibroblasts. Of importance, expression of TGF-β in tissue from the wound lesion treated with moxibustion was significantly increased as compared to that in sham-treated rats at 4 days (P<0.01 or P<0.05), but not at 7 days.


The treatment with moxibustion promoted the wound healing process in the early phase through proliferation of fibroblasts and rapid formation of granulation, possibly mediated by induction of TGF-β which is a key molecule in the physiological process of wound healing. Moxibustion can be expected to be effective as complementary treatment for intractable ulcers.


complementary and alternative medicine moxibustion wound healing granulation transforming growth factor-β collagen 


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Author Contributions

Kawanami H conceived and designed the experiments, carried out the laboratory experiments, analyzed and interpreted the data, and prepared the manuscript. Kawahata H and Mori HM analyzed and interpreted the data, and prepared the manuscript. Aoki M conceived and designed the experiments, analyzed and interpreted the data, and revised the article critically for important intellectual content. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interest.

Supplementary material

11655_2019_3083_MOESM1_ESM.pptx (316 kb)
Supplementary material, approximately 316 KB.


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Copyright information

© The Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hiroshi Kawanami
    • 1
  • Hirohisa Kawahata
    • 1
  • Hiroko-Miyuki Mori
    • 1
  • Motokuni Aoki
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Graduate School of Health SciencesMorinomiya University of Medical SciencesOsakaJapan

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