Acupuncture Reduces Hypertrophy and Cardiac Fibrosis, and Improves Heart Function in Mice with Diabetic Cardiomyopathy

Yumei Ye, Yochai Birnbaum, Steven G Widen, Zhaohui Zhang, Shipeng Zhu, Mandeep Bajaj, Huan Chen
Cardiovascular Drugs and Therapy 2020 August 7

PURPOSE: To assess the effects of electro-acupuncture (EA) on glycemic control, myocardial inflammation, and the progression of diabetic cardiomyopathy in mice with type 2 diabetes.

METHODS: Db/Db mice received EA at PC6+ST36 (DM-Acu), non-acupoint simulation (DM-Sham), or no treatment (DM). EA was applied for 30 min per day, 5 days a week for 4 weeks. Heart function was assessed by echocardiography. Myocardium was assessed by RT-PCR, immunoblotting, and histology. Serum TNF-α, IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-8 were measured.

RESULTS: DM-Acu, but not DM-Sham, reduced fasting blood glucose without affecting body weight. DM decreased systolic function. DM-Acu, but not DM-Sham, attenuated the decrease in systolic function. Heart weight was significantly smaller in the DM-Acu than in the DM and DM-Sham groups. Percent fibrosis and apoptosis were reduced in the DM-Acu, but not the DM-Sham, group. Serum levels of IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, ICAM-1, MCP-1, and TNF-α were significantly lower in the DM-Acu than in the DM or DM-Sham groups. Protein levels of P-Akt and P-AMPK and mRNA levels of phosphoinositide-3-kinase regulatory subunit 6 (PIK3r6) were significantly higher in the DM-Acu group. Myocardial mRNA and protein levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R) were significantly lower in the DM and DM-Sham groups compared with the DM-Acu group.

CONCLUSIONS: EA reduced serum glucose; prevented DM-induced hypertrophy and deterioration of systolic function, inflammation, and fibrosis; and restored IGF1R, P-Akt, and P-AMPK levels in mice with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

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