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Electro-acupuncture Pretreatment at Zusanli (ST36) Acupoint Attenuates Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Inflammation in Rats by Inhibiting Ca2+ Influx Associated with Cannabinoid CB2 Receptors

Abstract

In this study, we aimed to investigate the effect of electro-acupuncture (EA) pretreatment at zusanli (ST36) acupoint on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced endotoxemic rat model and explore the underlying molecular mechanisms. Rats were treated with EA at ST36 for 7 days before being subjected to LPS. Two hours post-LPS, samples such as serum, local acupoint tissues, and spleens were collected and processed for investigations including cytokine production, cytosolic calcium (Ca2+) concentration, Ca2+ influx, cannabinoid CB2 receptor (CB2R) expression, and TLR4/NF-κB signaling. Our results showed EA pretreatment significantly attenuated LPS-induced inflammatory cytokine production, such as TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6. EA also enhanced CB2R expression, inhibited Ca2+ influx, and inactivated TLR4/NF-κB signaling, subsequently resulting in a substantial reduction of Ca2+ concentration. Importantly, CB2R antagonist AM630 effectively abrogated the suppressive effect of EA at ST36 on the endotoxemic rats, suggesting CB2R was involved in the anti-inflammatory effect of EA. EA pretreatment could enhance CB2R expression, inhibit Ca2+ influx, and inactivate TLR4/NF-κB signaling, which contributes to the alleviation of LPS-induced inflammation in rats.

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Funding

This study was supported by the grants from the Health and Family Planning Commission of Hubei Province (No. 2013Z-Z01) and the Natural Science Foundation of Hubei Province of China (No. 2015CFA096).

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Authors

Contributions

Tao Chen, Yong Xiong, Nina Yin, and Zebin Chen designed the study; Tao Chen and Yong Xiong performed the experiments and wrote the manuscript; Man Long and Dan Zheng contributed to the rat model and EA pretreatment; Hui Ke helped analyze the data; and Jun Xie and Zebin Chen revised the manuscript.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Nina Yin or Zebin Chen.

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The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

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Chen, T., Xiong, Y., Long, M. et al. Electro-acupuncture Pretreatment at Zusanli (ST36) Acupoint Attenuates Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Inflammation in Rats by Inhibiting Ca2+ Influx Associated with Cannabinoid CB2 Receptors. Inflammation 42, 211–220 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10753-018-0885-5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10753-018-0885-5

KEY WORDS

  • electro-acupuncture
  • lipopolysaccharide
  • inflammation
  • calcium
  • cannabinoid CB2 receptor
  • TLR4/NF-κB signaling