Prevention and treatment of myocardial ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury has for many years been a hot topic in treating ischemic heart disease. As one of the most well-known methods of complementary and alternative medicine, acupuncture has attracted increasing interest in preventing myocardial I/R injury due to its remarkable effectiveness and minimal side effect. However, traditional acupuncture approaches are limited by cumbersome execution, high labor costs and inevitable pain caused by frequent stimulation. Therefore, in this work, we aimed to develop a novel acupoint gel embedding approach and investigated its role in protecting against myocardial I/R injury in rats.Main methods:
Gels were embedded at bilateral Neiguan (PC6) points of rats and their protective effects against myocardial I/R injury evaluated in terms of changes in histomorphology, myocardial enzymology, antioxidant capacity, anti-inflammatory response, and anti-apoptosis of cells.Key findings:
We found that the approach of acupoint gel embedding could significantly reduce myocardial infarcted size, repair pathological changes, mitigate oxidative stress damage and inflammatory response, as well as inhibit apoptosis of cardiomyocytes. Such cardioprotective effects were found to be associated with Notch-1/Jagged-1 signaling pathway.Significance:
The proposed approach of acupoint gel embedding has advantages in continuous acupoint stimulation, dosing controls, and no side effects in the course of treatment, as well as in reducing the pain caused by frequent acupuncture. It can form an alternative therapy to not only protect against myocardial I/R injury but also hold great potential in treating other diseases in the future.