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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 450623, 6 pages
Research Article

Moxibustion Activates Macrophage Autophagy and Protects Experimental Mice against Bacterial Infection

1Acupuncture and Moxibustion College, Hubei University of Chinese Medicine, Wuhan, Hubei 430061, China
2Hubei Provincial Collaborative Innovation Center of Preventive Treatment by Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Wuhan, Hubei 430061, China
3Shanxi University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Taiyuan, Shanxi 030024, China

Received 11 May 2014; Accepted 8 July 2014; Published 23 July 2014

Academic Editor: Gerhard Litscher

Copyright © 2014 Xiaojuan Li 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.


Moxibustion is one of main therapies in traditional Chinese medicine and uses heat stimulation on the body surface from the burning of moxa to release pain or treat diseases. Emerging studies have shown that moxibustion can generate therapeutic effects by activating a series of signaling pathways and neuroendocrine-immune activities. Here we show moxibustion promoted profound macrophage autophagy in experimental Kunming mice, with reduced Akt phosphorylation and activated eIF2α phosphorylation. Consequently, moxibustion promoted bacterial clearance by macrophages and protected mice from mortality due to bacterial infection. These results indicate that moxibustion generates a protective response by activating autophagy against bacterial infections.