Previous studies have shown that electroacupuncture (EA) can induce cardioprotection against ischemia-reperfusion (IR) injury, but its mechanisms are incompletely understood. We have previously shown that several other forms of remote preconditioning of the heart work, at least in part, via the release of circulating cardioprotective factors into the bloodstream, that can be dialyzed and subsequently shown to reduce IR injury in isolated hearts. We used the same methods to assess whether EA leads to similar humoral cardioprotection. EA rabbits were subjected to 60 min of bilateral stimulation at the Neiguan point, following which their blood was drawn, dialyzed, and used to perfuse hearts in Langendorff preparation and subsequently subjected to 60 min of global ischemia and 120 min of reperfusion. Compared to controls, dialysate from EA animals led to significant reduction in infarct size and improved functional recovery. The degree of cardioprotection was no different to that seen in animals randomized to receive remote preconditioning using transient limb ischemia (4 cycles of 5 min ischemia/5 min reperfusion). These results suggest that EA recapitulates the cardioprotection achieved by remote preconditioning, by similarly leading to release of circulating cardioprotective factors.
- Remote preconditioning
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