The effect of electroacupuncture (EA) on experimental colitis was investigated in Sprague-Dawley rats. Colitis was induced by intracolonic instillation of 4% acetic acid. EA (2 Hz, 0.05 ms, 2 V for 20 min) was applied to bilateral Hoku (LI-4) and Zusanli (ST-36) on 12 hrs and 36 hrs after induction of colitis. EA-treatment significantly reduced the macroscopic damage and the myeloperoxidase activity of colonic samples at 3 days post-induction of colitis. Colitic colon showed a decreased in vitro motility. However, colonic motility of EA-treated group was not significantly different from that of normal group. The anti-inflammatory effect of EA was not inhibited by a glucocorticoid receptor antagonist, RU-486, but suppressed by a beta-adrenoceptor antagonist, propranonol. These results suggest that EA-treatment has a beneficial effect on colitis, and its anti-inflammatory effect is mediated by beta-adrenoceptor activation but not by endogenous glucocorticoiddependent mechanism.
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