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Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine ›› 2009, Vol. 7 ›› Issue (10): 969-975.doi: 10.3736/jcim20091011

Special Issue: Acupuncture & Moxibustion

• Original Experimental Research • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Prophylactic effects of short-term acupuncture on Zusanli (ST36) in Wistar rats with lipopolysaccharide-induced acute lung injury

Arthur de Sa Ferreiraa,Januario Gomes Mouraoe Limaa,b,Tatiana Pereira Teixeira Ferreirac,Camila Madeira Tavares Lopesb,Rubens Meyerb   

  1. a Laboratory of Human Motion Analysis, Augusto Motta University Center, Av. Paris 72 Bonsucesso 21041-020,Rio de Janeiro,Brazil
    b Laboratory of Morphology, Augusto Motta University Center, Av. Paris 72 Bonsucesso 21041-020, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    c Laboratory of Inflammation, Oswaldo Cruz Institute, Rio de Janeiro, Av. Brasil 4365 Manguinhos 21045-900, Rio de Janeiro,Brazil
  • Received:2009-06-30 Accepted:2009-08-05 Online:2009-10-20 Published:2009-10-15
  • Contact: Arthur de Sa Ferreira


To evaluate the prophylactic effects of short-term manual acupuncture stimulation on Zusanli (ST36) on acute lung injury (ALI) caused by lipopolysaccharide instillation in Wistar rats.

Thirty-two Wistar rats were randomized into 4 groups (n=8) classified by the absence or presence of lipopolysaccharide instillation [negative (NC) and positive control (PC), respectively], and performance of sham or real needle stimulation [sham (SA) or real (RA) acupuncture, respectively]. Manual acupuncture was performed daily for 5 minutes over four consecutive days (days 1 to 4). Lipopolysaccharide instillation was performed on day 4 after the last acupuncture stimulation. Systemic blood samples, bronchoalveolar lavage, and bone marrow blood sample were collected on day 5 to measure the count of leukocytes.

RA reduced the inflammatory response on ALI as indicated by blood cell count and bronchoalveolar lavage cell count. SA presented a minor efficacy to reduce inflammatory response in rats with experimental ALI. Bronchoalveolar lavage showed increased cell counts of rats in the PC group as compared with the NC group, and less but no significant differences in cell counts in the PC-RA group as compared with the PC-SA group.

Prophylactic manual needling stimulation of ST36 can mitigate ALI caused by lipopolysaccharide instillation in Wistar rats. Further studies should address the mechanisms of immune system response induced by needle stimulation of ST36 acupoint.

Key words: Acupuncture, Lipopolysaccharides, Acute lung injury, Rats


Group n Count of total leukocytes P value (day 1 to day 5)
Day 1 Day 5
NC 8 9.9 [8.6, 11.6] 11.7 [10.1, 14.2] 0.07
PC 8 9.0 [7.7, 9.6] 12.7 [9.4, 22.2] 0.08
P value (same day) NC vs PC: 0.28 NC vs PC: 0.46
PC-SA 8 8.1 [6.1, 9.7] 20.6 [18.0, 25.0] 0.03
PC-RA 8 7.9 [6.9, 9.5] 9.7 [8.3, 14.3] 0.06
P value (same day) PC-SA vs PC-RA: 0.94 PC-SA vs PC-RA: 0.001


Group n Count of total leukocytes Count of neutrophils Count of monocytes Count of lymphocytes
NC 8 11.7 [10.1, 14.2] 2.1 [1.1, 2.7] 0.1 [0.0, 0.1] 9.2 [8.4, 12.6]
PC 8 12.7 [9.4, 22.2] 2.8 [1.9, 8.7] 0.1 [0.0, 0.4] 9.9 [6.8, 18.6]
P value (NC vs PC) 0.45 0.02 0.45 0.80
PC-SA 8 20.6 [18.0, 25.0] 2.8 [1.9, 6.7] 0.2 [0.0, 0.5] 17.8 [13.7, 20.3]
PC-RA 8 9.7 [8.3, 14.3] 1.9 [0.8, 2.7] 0.0 [0.0, 0.3] 8.3 [6.8, 11.4]
P value (SA vs RA) 0.000 3 0.01 0.61 0.000 3


Group n Count of total leukocytes Count of neutrophils Count of monocytes
NC 8 3.9 [3.3, 5.5] 0.0 [0.0, 0.0] 3.9 [3.3, 5.5]
PC 8 38.2 [17.5, 47.8] 9.6 [8.4, 18.3] 14.0 [7.0, 23.4]
P value (NC vs PC) 0.002 0.004 0.002
PC-SA 8 25.5 [10.0, 62.2] 19.9 [7.9, 27.0] 16.1 [5.8, 32.4]
PC-RA 8 13.0 [9.5, 47.5] 4.1 [1.5, 6.2] 7.8 [6.2, 12.5]
P value (SA vs RA) 0.54 0.01 0.19

Figure 1

Timeline of the animal experiment indicating when acupuncture, LPS instillation, and analysis were performed"


Group n Count of total leukocytes Count of neutrophils Count of other cells
NC 8 41.0 [36.5, 44.0] 8.6 [5.5, 15.0] 26.5 [24.5, 31.6]
PC 8 40.8 [36.0, 48.0] 12.6 [9.9, 16.3] 26.2 [16.6, 29.3]
P value (NC vs PC) 0.94 0.18 0.59
PC-SA 8 31.8 [25.5, 37.5] 4.7 [2.6, 14.6] 14.9 [14.0, 18.2]
PC-RA 8 38.2 [30.2, 42.0] 6.7 [4.7, 9.2] 22.6 [20.5, 28.4]
P value (SA vs RA) 0.08 0.42 0.01
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