Uniaxial Tensile Properties of Atherosclerotic Carotid Artery After Mobilization of Pushing on Qiao-Gong: A Safety Study Using an Animal Model of Carotid Atherosclerosis

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Abstract

Objectives:

This study aimed to preliminarily explore the effects of the soft tissue mobilization of pushing on Qiao-Gong (MPQ) on biomechanical properties of the carotid artery using an animal model of carotid atherosclerosis (CAS).

Methods:

Fifty rabbits were randomly divided into 4 groups: animals with CAS treated with MPQ (CAS-MPQ [n = 15]); animals with CAS treated without MPQ (CAS [n = 15]); normal animals treated with MPQ (normal-MPQ [n = 10]); and a blank control group (n = 10). The MPQ procedure consisted of soft tissue mobilization of the Qiao-Gong acupoint on the front edge of the sternocleidomastoid muscle applied from top to bottom, by flat pushing with the thumb repeatedly for 20 times. Disease in the CAS models was induced by carotid artery balloon injury combined with a high-fat diet for 12 weeks. At the end of modeling, carotid color Doppler ultrasonography examination was performed to confirm which animal models were successfully induced with CAS, excluding model rabbits without typical CAS at the same time. Then, MPQ was applied on rabbits in the CAS-MPQ and the normal-MPQ groups for 3 weeks. By contrast, rabbits in the other 2 groups were fed normally without MPQ. Uniaxial failure tests were later performed on carotid arteries in all 4 groups, and at the end of the study, a 2-way factorial analysis of variance of the results was conducted.

Results:

(1) At the end of modeling, 10 rabbits in the CAS-MPQ group and 9 in the CAS group were included with typical carotid atherosclerotic characteristics. (2) Young's elastic modulus of the rabbit carotid artery increased more significantly in the CAS-MPQ group than the CAS group. (3) Compared with normal rabbit carotid arteries, atherosclerotic carotid arteries had lower levels of ultimate stress and ultimate strain but higher levels of ultimate load.

Conclusions:

The uniaxial tensile mechanical properties of the rabbit atherosclerotic carotid artery were impaired after MPQ.

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