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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015, Article ID 787393, 6 pages
Research Article

Electroacupuncture at Zusanli Prevents Severe Scalds-Induced Gut Ischemia and Paralysis by Activating the Cholinergic Pathway

1Department of TCM and Acupuncture, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing 100853, China
2Shock and Multiple Organ Dysfunction, Burns Institute, First Hospital Affiliated to The PLA General Hospital, Beijing 100048, China
3Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing 100853, China
4Department of Oncology, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing 100853, China
5Research Unit for Complementary and Integrative Laser Medicine, Research Unit of Biomedical Engineering in Anesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, and TCM Research Center Graz, Medical University of Graz, 8036 Graz, Austria

Received 8 July 2015; Revised 24 August 2015; Accepted 30 August 2015

Academic Editor: Haifa Qiao

Copyright © 2015 Huan Wang 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.


Severe burn injuries may result in gastrointestinal paralysis, and barrier dysfunction due to gut ischemia and lowered vagus excitability. In this study we investigate whether electroacupuncture (EA) at Zusanli (ST36) could prevent severe scalds-induced gut ischemia, paralysis, and barrier dysfunction and whether the protective role of EA at ST36 is related to the vagus nerve. 35% burn area rats were divided into six groups: (a) EAN: EA nonchannel acupoints followed by scald injury; (b) EA: EA at ST36 after scald injury; (c) VGX/EA: vagotomy (VGX) before EA at ST36 and scald injury; (d) VGX/EAN: VGX before EAN and scald injury; (e) atropine/EA: applying atropine before scald injury and then EA at ST36; (f) atropine/EAN: applying atropine before scald injury and then EA at nonchannel acupoints. EA at the Zusanli point significantly promoted the intestinal impelling ratio and increased the amount of mucosal blood flow after scald injury. The plasma diamine oxidase (DAO) and intestinal permeability decreased significantly after scald injury in the EA group compared with others. However, EA after atropine injection or cervical vagotomy failed to improve intestinal motility and mucosa blood flow suggesting that the mechanism of EA may be related to the activation of the cholinergic nerve pathway.