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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 583479, 7 pages
Research Article

NMDA Receptors of Gastric-Projecting Neurons in the Dorsal Motor Nucleus of the Vagus Mediate the Regulation of Gastric Emptying by EA at Weishu (BL21)

1Neuroscience Program, Shandong University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Changqing University Park, Jinan 250355, China
2Institute of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, 16 Nanxiaojie, Dongzhimeinei, Beijing 100700, China
3Qingdao Haici Medical Group, 4 Renmin Road, Qingdao 266033, China
4Department of Biomedical Sciences, The Florida State University College of Medicine, 1115 West Call Street, Tallahassee, FL32306, USA

Received 11 February 2012; Accepted 24 February 2012

Academic Editor: Gerhard Litscher

Copyright © 2012 Xin Zhang 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.


A large number of studies have been conducted to explore the efficacy of electroacupuncture (EA) for the treatment of gastrointestinal motility. While several lines of evidence addressed the basic mechanism of EA on gastrointestinal motility regarding effects of limb and abdomen points, the mechanism for effects of the back points on gastric motility still remains unclear. Here we report that the NMDA receptor (NMDAR) antagonist kynurenic acid inhibited the gastric emptying increase induced by high-intensity EA at BL21 and agonist NMDA enhanced the effect of the same treatment. EA at BL21 enhanced NMDAR, but not AMPA receptor (AMPAR) component of miniature excitatory postsynaptic current (mEPSC) in gastric-projecting neurons of the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus (DMV). In sum, our data demonstrate an important role of NMDAR-mediated synaptic transmission of gastric-projecting DMV neurons in mediating EA at BL21-induced enhancement of gastric emptying.