Electroacupuncture treatment improves postoperative ileus by inhibiting the Th1 cell-mediated inflammatory response through the vagus nerve

Acupunct Med. 2024 May 30:9645284241248466. doi: 10.1177/09645284241248466. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Electroacupuncture (EA) has been reported to improve intestinal motility in mice with postoperative ileus (POI). Previous studies, however, have yielded heterogeneous results regarding the effect of EA on POI.

METHODS: Herein, a POI mouse model was constructed by intestinal manipulation. To evaluate the effect of EA treatment on colonic transit, the levels of inflammatory markers (macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1α, interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP)-1 and intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1) were detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA); immune cell infiltration was detected by immunohistochemical staining of myeloperoxidase (MPO), ectodysplasin (ED)-1 and ED-2, and the percentage of CD4+ interferon (IFN)-γ+ Th1 cells and IFN-γ secretion levels were determined. Activated Th1 cells and pentoxifylline, a cell differentiation inhibitor, were used to assess the role of Th1 cells in EA treatment of POI. Neostigmine administration and unilateral vagotomy were performed to confirm whether the effects of EA treatment on Th1 cells were mediated by the vagus nerve (VN).

RESULTS: The results revealed that EA treatment at ST36 improved POI, as indicated by a decreased level of inflammatory-related markers and immune cell infiltration and shortened colonic transit time. The activated Th1 cells abolished the effects of EA treatment on POI. The effects of EA treatment on POI were enhanced by stimulation of the VN along with a decreased level of Th1 cells, but these effects were abolished by vagotomy along with an increased percentage of Th1 cells; this result indicates that the VN mediates the role of Th1 cells in the effects of EA treatment of POI.

CONCLUSION: Our findings showed that the effects of EA treatment of POI were mainly mediated by Th1 cells through the stimulation of the VN and inhibition of the inflammatory response.

PMID:38813841 | DOI:10.1177/09645284241248466