Japanese Acupuncture and Moxibustion (Online)

JAM  2023;Vol.17(1):1-11

Increase of molecular chaperone αB-crystallin expression in the rat soleus muscle induced by moxa needle stimulation

YAJIMA Michiko1), SUMIYA Eiji1), KAWAKITA Kenji1), YANO Tadashi1)
1)Course of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Graduate School of Acupuncture and Moxibustion,Meiji University of Integrative Medicine


[Background] The purpose of this study is to investigate whether the expression of αB-crystallin in slow soleus muscles is affected by thermal stimulation in moxa needle therapy. αB-crystallin is known to be abundant in slow muscles and to maintain and improve the function of slow antigravity muscles. Moxa needle used to be performed with silver needles, which have high thermal conductivity, but is currently performed with stainless steel needles, which have low thermal conductivity. Therefore, we performed thermal stimulation with both types of moxa needles and compared their effects.
[Methods] We carried out experiments in two steps: Experiments A and B. Rats were divided into moxa needle combustion groups using silver (CSV group) and stainless steel (CSS group) needles, non-combustion groups using silver (NSV group) and stainless steel (NSS group) needles, and a control group with no needle insertion (CON group). The moxa balls in the CSV and CSS groups were burned three times intermittently. In Experiment A, skin surface and deep tissue temperatures were measured for 50 minutes. Experiment B was performed in a similar manner without deep tissue temperature measurements. At 3 hours after stimulation, the rats were euthanized. Their soleus and extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles were then removed to examine the expression of αB-crystallin and the relationship with deep temperature obtained from Experiment A.
[Results] In Experiment A, higher skin surface and deep temperatures were observed in the CSV than in the CSS group. In Experiment B, the skin surface temperatures in the CSV and CSS groups followed similar courses to those in Experiment A. In addition, αB-crystallin expression in soleus after correction for glyceraldehyde 3- phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) expression, relative to the CON group (100), was 299.29 in the CSV, 160.62 in the CSS, 121.51 in the NSV, and 67.52 in the NSS group, indicating that αB-crystallin expression was significantly higher in the CSV than in the CON group (P < 0.01). No significant differences were found in the EDL.
[Conclusion] The results of this study suggest that a deep temperature increase of 4–5 °C for about 3 minutes is needed to increase αB-crystallin expression. Therefore, in moxa needle stimulation to the posterior surface of the lower leg, the use of silver needles with high thermal conductivity could increase the deep temperature and expression of αB-crystallin in soleus muscles.

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