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Journal of Integrative Medicine: Volume 14, 2016   Issue 3,  Pages: 197–202

DOI: 10.1016/S2095-4964(16)60250-9
Research Articles
Repeated cupping manipulation temporary decreases natural killer lymphocyte frequency, activity and cytotoxicity
1. Boris V. Dons’koi (Laboratory of Immunology, Institute of Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine, 04050 Kiev, Ukraine )
2. Viktor P. Chernyshov (Laboratory of Immunology, Institute of Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine, 04050 Kiev, Ukraine )
3. Dariia V. Osypchuk (Laboratory of Immunology, Institute of Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine, 04050 Kiev, Ukraine )
4. Sergiy M. Baksheev (Gynecology Department, Kiev Maternity Hospital, 03148 Kiev, Ukraine )


OBJECTIVE: Elevated natural killer lymphocyte cytotoxicity (NKc) has been linked with reproductive problems in women. Here we evaluate the potential benefit of cupping therapy (CT) in reproduction-related immune responses.

METHODS: This was a pilot clinical study. Participants were healthy female volunteers (n = 23) with elevated NKc, and received repeated CT 3 times over 5 d (inner pressure 40–50 kPa, 40 min; 12–15 cups). Lymphocyte subsets, NKc and NK lymphocyte activity (NKa) were measured in blood on day 0 (initial levels, before the first treatment) and days 3, 10 and 17 after the last CT treatment, using the K562-stimulated CD69 expression assay.

RESULTS: As a result of CT manipulations NKa was reduced on days 3 and 10, and NK percentage was reduced on day 10. NKc was most sensitive to CT treatment, resulting in their decreased counts at 3, 10 and 17 d post CT. CT treatment decreased NKc in the majority of individuals (87%), but the magnitude of the effect was variable. Out of 23 subjects 9 (39.1%) had a 2–3 fold decrease of NKc on days 3, 10 and 17; 11 (47.8%) started to show a decrease in NKc later, or more quickly returned to base levels; and only 3 (13%) subjects displayed no effect of CT on NKc. Expectedly, no changes in T-cell subsets (CD3CD4, CD3CD8, HLADR, CD158a) were observed after CT.

CONCLUSION: CT decreased NK cell numbers, their activity and cytotoxicity. Low cost, safety, non-invasive nature and ease of administration make CT a promising approach for NKc down-regulation.

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Please cite this article as:
Dons’koi BV, Chernyshov VP, Osypchuk DV, Baksheev SM. Repeated cupping manipulation temporary decreasеs natural killer lymphocyte frequency, activity and cytotoxicity. J Integr Med. 2016; 14(3): 197–202.
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