Acupuncture-like stimulation at auricular point Heart evokes cardiovascular inhibition via activating the cardiac-related neurons in the nucleus tractus solitarius

Xin Yan Gao, Yan Hua Li, Kun Liu, Pei Jing Rong, Hui Ben, Liang Li, Bing Zhu*, Shi Ping ZHANG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Fifty-eight male Sprague-Dawley rats used in the present study to investigate the role of baroreceptor sensitive neurons of the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS) in the regulation of cardiovascular inhibition during acupuncture at the auricular point Heart, single unit recording was made in anesthetized Sprague-Dawley rats. A neuron was considered to be excited or inhibited by acupuncture stimulation if it displayed 15% more or less spikes s- 1, respectively. NTS neurons were classified into cardiac-related (CR) neurons and non-cardiac-related neurons based on whether their rhythmic discharges were synchronized with the R-waves and responding to sodium nitroprusside (NP; 20 μg/kg, i.v.) administration. Manual acupuncture was applied at the auricular point Heart and somatic acupuncture points ST36 and PC6. Acupuncture at auricular point Heart showed a more significant inhibitory effect on arterial pressure (- 22.1 ± 2.4 mm Hg; P < 0.001) and heart rate (- 12.7 ± 1.7 bpm; P < 0.001) than that at ST36 and PC6. Acupuncture at auricular point Heart also increased the level of response of CR neurons in the NTS (93.8% ± 26.0% increase in discharge rate; P < 0.01). Systemic or local administration of atropine attenuated the cardiovascular inhibition and activation of CR neurons evoked by auricular acupuncture, but had no effect on the same responses evoked by somatic acupuncture. Inactivation of the NTS with local anesthetics also decreased the cardiovascular inhititory responses evoked by auricular acupuncture. Our results show that acupuncture at the auricular point Heart regulates cardiovascular function by activating baroreceptor sensitive neurons in the NTS in a similar manner as the baroreceptor reflex in cardiovascular inhibition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-27
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Research
Volume1397
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2011

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Auricular acupuncture
  • Baroreceptor reflex
  • Cardiac-related neuron
  • Cardiovascular reflex
  • Nucleus tractus solitarius
  • Vagus nerve

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