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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 217946, 9 pages
Original Article

Involvement of Interleukin-10 in the Anti-Inflammatory Effect of Sanyinjiao (SP6) Acupuncture in a Mouse Model of Peritonitis

1Departamento de Ciências Fisiológicas, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Campus Universitário, Trindade, 88040-900, Florianópolis, SC, Brazil
2Departamento de Farmacologia, Centro de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Campus Universitário, Trindade, Florianópolis, SC, Brazil
3Departamento de Farmacologia, Setor de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, PR, Brazil

Received 15 June 2009; Accepted 22 March 2010

Copyright © 2011 Morgana Duarte da Silva et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In this study, we determined the anti-inflammatory effect of manual acupuncture at the Sanyinjiao or Spleen 6 (SP6) point on carrageenan-induced peritonitis in mice and investigated mechanisms that may underlie this effect. In the first set of experiments, male Swiss mice were allocated into five groups: the control (sterile saline), dexamethasone (DEXA), invasive sham-acupuncture (non-acupoint), SP6 acupuncture and carrageenan-treated groups. Ten minutes after needle retention or 30 min after DEXA treatment, mice received an intraperitoneal injection of carrageenan (750 μg/mouse). After 4 h, total leukocyte and differential cell counts (neutrophils and mononuclear), myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity, vascular permeability and cytokine levels were evaluated. In another set of experiments, adrenalectomized (ADX) mice were used to study the involvement of the adrenal gland on the therapeutic effects of acupuncture. Mice were allocated into two groups: the ADX and sham-operated animals (Sham ADX) that were subdivided into four subgroups each: the control (sterile saline), DEXA, SP6 acupuncture and carrageenan-treated groups. The SP6 and DEXA treatments inhibited the inflammatory cell infiltration, vascular permeability and MPO activity in carrageenan-injected mice. In addition, the SP6 treatment also increased interleukin (IL)-10 levels. In contrast, when the animals were adrenalectomized, the SP6 treatment failed to reduce total leukocyte and the plasma extravasation. In conclusion, this study clearly demonstrates the anti-inflammatory effect of SP6 acupuncture in a model of carrageenan-induced peritonitis. Our results demonstrated that SP6 acupuncture depends of the adrenal glands and increased IL-10 levels to produce its anti-inflammatory action.