Electroacupuncture improves rectal distension-induced delay in solid gastric emptying in dogs

Jieyun Yin, Jiande D.Z. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to investigate the effects and mechanisms of electroacupuncture (EA) on rectal distension (RD)-induced delay in solid gastric emptying in dogs. Gastric emptying of solids was assessed in 12 dogs chronically implanted with a duodenal cannula by collecting samples at different time points from the cannula and measuring the dried weights of the samples. Bethanechol and atropine were used to qualitatively validate the method. In separate experiments, gastric emptying of solids was measured in a number of sessions: control, RD, RD + sham-EA, RD + EA of 6 mA, RD + EA of 3 mA, and RD + EA + naloxone. The method of gastric emptying by collecting and drying gastric chyme from the duodenal cannula was found to be accurate and reliable. Using the method, we found gastric emptying to be accelerated with bethanechol (70.01 ± 8.10% vs. 82.61 ± 4.15%, P = 0.04, vs. control) and delayed with atropine (4.31 ± 1.57%, P < 0.001, vs. control). RD substantially and significantly delayed gastric emptying. EA, but not sham-EA, attenuated delayed gastric emptying induced by RD (sham-EA: 48.79 ± 9.47% vs. EA: 74.28 ± 5.96%, P < 0.01). The effect was more potent with EA of 6 mA than EA of 3 mA and blocked by naloxone. EA is able to attenuate RD-induced delay in gastric emptying of solids, and this ameliorating effect may be mediated via the opioid pathway. EA may have a therapeutic potential for treating delayed gastric emptying attributed to lower gut distension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R465-R472
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Acupuncture
  • Constipation
  • Gastrointestinal motility
  • Gastroparesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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