aDepartment of acupuncture, Jiangsu Province Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Hanzhong Road, Qinhuai DistrictbNanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Xianlin Road, Qixia District, Nanjing, China.
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Background:Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common functional gastrointestinal disorder associated with visceral hypersensitivity. Increased expression of colonic TRPV1 and decreased expression of microRNA-199 are implicated in the pathogenesis of visceral hypersensitivity in IBS-D patients. Acupuncture is one of the frequently used complementary and alternative therapies for the treatment of IBS. The existing clinical studies mostly use IBS-SSS or other subjective scales, so there is a lack of objective biochemical evidence regarding the effect of acupuncture on IBS. Therefore, we designed this study to investigate whether acupuncture alleviate visceral hypersensitivity by influencing the expression of TRPV1 and microRNA-199.Method:This study is a randomized, sham-controlled trial involving 40 patients and 10 healthy volunteers. A total of 40 eligible patients with IBS-D will be randomly assigned to a traditional acupuncture group or sham acupuncture group in a 1:1 ratio. Patients will receive 3 acupuncture treatment sessions per week for 12 consecutive weeks, for a total of 36 sessions during the study. The primary outcome measure is the IBS-Symptom Severity Score (IBS-SSS). Secondary outcomes are Visceral Pain Scale and levels of TRPV1 and microRNA-199 in colonic tissues. Healthy volunteers will not receive any clinical intervention. The safety of interventions will be assessed at every visit.Discussion:The purpose of this trial is to evaluate the efficacy of acupuncture for IBS-D through IBS-SSS and Visceral Pain Scale. Furthermore, we want to explore the intervention mechanism of acupuncture in improving visceral hypersensitivity by analyzing the colonic TRPV1 and microRNA-199.Trial registration:This trial is registered with Chinese Clinical Trials Register, ChiCTR-IOR- 17010860(http://www.chictr.org.cn/showproj.aspx?proj=18445).