07 November 2019
The purpose of this study was to explore the central analgesia mechanism of moxibustion for chronic inflammatory visceral pain (CIVP).
A CIVP rat model was established by 2,4,6-trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (TNBS) plus 50% ethanol via enema. The analgesic effect of moxibustion was evaluated using the abdominal withdrawal reflex (AWR), mechanical withdrawal threshold (MWT), and thermal withdrawal latency (TWL). The expression profile of phosphorylated proteins of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway in the spinal cord was assayed by protein microarray. The differentially expressed proteins were examined by Gene Ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) for functional clusters and corresponding signaling pathways.
Moxibustion exerted a significant analgesic effect for CIVP rats, mainly presenting as a decrease in the AWR score (all P<0.01) under different levels of distending pressure and an increase in MWT and TWL thresholds (all P<0.05). Compared with the normal group, 76 proteins were upregulated while 15 were downregulated, and MAPK signaling pathway was activated in the model group. Compared with the model group, there were 53 downregulated and 38 upregulated proteins in the moxibustion group, and MAPK signaling pathway was inhibited. Fold change (FC)>1.3 or <0.77 was taken as the screening standard to define the differentially expressed proteins. Fifteen differentially expressed proteins upregulated in the model group were downregulated in the moxibustion group. GO analysis showed that the differentially expressed proteins mainly controlled cellular metabolism regulation, transportation, and stress reactions. KEGG analysis revealed that these differentially expressed proteins were mostly involved in the ERK, JNK, and p38 pathways, and the ERK pathway was predominant.