Effectiveness of electroacupuncture at Zusanli (ST36) on the immunohistochemical density of enteroendocrine cells related to gastrointestinal function
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of electroacupuncture at Zusanli on the immunohistochemical density of enteroendocrine cells related to gastrointestinal function. The authors investigated the histochemical changes of mucous substances and immunohistochemical density of gastrin, serotonin, calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), insulin, and pancreatic polypeptide (PP) secreting cells in rats. Staining density of mucous substances and the enteroendocrine cells of the gastrointestinal tract was observed with histochemical and immunohistochemical methods. Stainless steel needles with a diameter of 0.25 mm were inserted into Zusanli (St36, 5mm below the head of the fibula under the knee joint, and 2mm lateral to the anterior tubercle of the tibia) and connected to an electrical stimulator. The electroacupuncture (EA) stimulation was delivered for 30 minutes at 10 mA, 2 Hz in EA stimulation (2EA group) or 4 Hz in EA stimulation (4EA group) in each experimental group. In 4EA stimulation at the Zusanli, staining density of Alcian blue-periodic acid-Schiff on mucous substances of the stomach body was stronger than those of the 2EA and control groups. Periodic acid-Schiff staining density of pyloric mucosa in the 4EA group was stronger than that of the 2EA and control groups. The immunohistochemical staining density of gastrin, serotonin, and CGRP-secreting cells of pylorus in the 2EA and 4EA groups was stronger than that of the control group. Immunohistochemical staining density of insulin and PP secreting cells of islets of the pancreas in the 2EA and 4EA groups was stronger than that of the control group. These results suggest that EA stimulus at St36 has the potential to influence gastric mucous substances and enteroendocrine cells (gastrin, serotonin, CGRP, insulin, and PP) that subsequently modulate digestive functions.