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October 2021

J Neuroimmunol. 1998 Oct; 90(2): 176-86.

Role of endogenous interferon-gamma on the enhancement of splenic NK cell activity by electroacupuncture stimulation in mice.

Yu Y, Kasahara T, Sato T, Asano K, Yu G, Fang J, Guo S, Sahara M, Hisamitsu T.

Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Showa University, Tokyo, Japan.

Successive electro-acupuncture (EA) stimulation applied to bilateral anterior tibial muscles, where Zusanli (ST36) acupoints are located, once a day (30 min) for 3 successive days significantly enhanced splenic natural killer (NK) cell activity in BALB/c mice. The percentage of splenic NK cells, as measured by flow cytometry, was not affected in these mice. Interferon (IFN)-gamma level in splenic aqueous extract, prepared from the ST36 acupoint-stimulated mice, was significantly higher than that of the controls. In vivo treatment with neutralizing monoclonal antibody against mouse IFN-gamma completely abrogated the increase in splenic NK cell activity induced by ST36 acupoint stimulation. The same stimulation also significantly increased the concentration of splenic beta-endorphin, which coincided with the significant increase in splenic IFN-gamma production. Pre-administration of 10 mg/kg naloxone before initiation of EA stimulation every day reduced the enhancements of NK cell activity and IFN-gamma level. These observations strongly suggest that endogenous IFN-gamma mediates the up-regulation of NK cell activity by EA stimulation at the ST36 acupoints. Furthermore, endogenous beta-endorphin secreted by EA stimulation also plays an important role in the up-regulation of NK cell function, which may be realized through regulating IFN-gamma production.

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