Protective effects of electroacupuncture on cardiac function in rats subjected to thoracic surgery trauma.
ABSTRACT The present study investigates the protective effects of electroacupuncture (EA) application on cardiac function, while simultaneously exploring the underlying neurobiological mechanisms, in rats that have experienced thoracic surgery-induced stress. Mean arterial and left intraventricular pressures were monitored as indicators of cardiac function. Meanwhile, the immunohistochemistry for c-Fos protein expression and electrophysiology in vitro in brain nuclei, known to regulate cardiac function, provide insights into the effects of EA on the central nervous system. The results show that cardiac function was dramatically suppressed with thoracic surgery trauma, the expression levels of c-Fos in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and the rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM) significantly increased, the rheobase intensity of the intracellular current injection needed to initiate the action potential decreased, membrane resistance in the PVN neurons significantly increased, and the inductivity of the postsynaptic potentials in the PVN neurons of the surgery-treated rats significantly decreased. EA application at the Neiguan acupoints (PC6) attenuated the decreases in almost all investigated functional parameters of the heart. EA significantly decreased the number of Fos-immunoreactive neurons in the PVN and RVLM, significantly decreased the Max L. slope of the PVN neurons, and increased the inductivity of the postsynaptic potentials in the PVN neurons of the surgery-treated rats. These data indicate the protective effects of EA application on cardiac function in rats that have experienced surgery-induced stress and show that EA application at the Neiguan acupoints may produce its protective effects through the neurons in the PVN and the RVLM.