Y Effect of mild moxibustion on intestinal microbiota and NLRP6 inflammasome signaling in rats with post-inflammatory irritable bowel syndrome

Chun Hui Bao, Chun Ye Wang, Guo Na Li, Yi Lu Yan, Di Wang, Xiao Ming Jin, Lu Yi Wu, Hui Rong Liu, Xiao Mei Wang, Zheng Shi, Huan Gan Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND About one-third of refractory irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) cases are caused by gastrointestinal (GI) infection/inflammation, known as post-infectious/post-inflammatory IBS (PI-IBS). Although it is known that intestinal microbiota and host NOD-like receptor family pyrin domain containing 6 (NLRP6) inflammsome signaling are closely related to PI-IBS and moxibustion has a therapeutic effect on PI-IBS, whether moxibustion regulates the intestinal flora and host NLRP6 events in PI-IBS remains unclear. AIM To examine the regulatory effect of moxibustion on intestinal microbiota and host NLRP6 inflammatory signaling in PI-IBS. METHODS Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into a normal control group, a model control group, a mild moxibustion group, and a sham mild moxibustion group. PI-IBS rats in the mild moxibustion group were treated with moxibusiton at bilateral Tianshu (ST 25) and Zusanli (ST36) for 7 consecutive days for 10 min each time. The sham group rats were given the same treatment as the mild moxibustion group except the moxa stick was not ignited. Abdominal withdrawal reflex (AWR) score was measured to assess the visceral sensitivity, and colon histopathology and ultrastructure, colonic myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity, and serum C-reactive protein (CRP) level were measured to evaluate low-grade colonic inflammation in rats. The relative abundance of selected intestinal bacteria in rat feces was detected by 16S rDNA PCR and the NLRP6 inflammsome signaling in the colon was detected by immunofluorescence, qRT-PCR, and Western blot. RESULTS The AWR score was significantly decreased and the low-grade intestinal inflammation reflected by serum CRP and colonic MPO levels was inhibited in the mild moxibustion group compared with the sham group. Mild moxibustion remarkably increased the relative DNA abundances of Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Faecalibacterium prausnitzii but decreased that of Escherichia coli in the gut of PI-IBS rats. Additionally, mild moxibustion induced mRNA and protein expression of intestine lectin 1 but inhibited the expression of IL-1β, IL-18, and resistance-like molecule β by promoting the NLRP6 and reducing the mRNA and protein expression of apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing CARD (ASC) and cysteinyl-aspartate-specific proteinase 1 (Caspase-1). The relative DNA abundances of Lactobacillus, Bifidobacteria, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, and Escherichia coli in each group were correlated with the mRNA and protein expression of NLRP6, ASC, and Caspase-1 in the colon. CONCLUSION These findings indicated that mild moxibustion can relieve low-grade GI inflammation and alleviate visceral hypersensitivity in PI-IBS by regulating intestinal microbes and controlling NLRP6 inflammasome signaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4696-4714
Number of pages19
JournalWorld Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number32
StatePublished - Aug 28 2019


  • Intestinal inflammation
  • Intestinal microbes
  • Moxibustion
  • NLRP6 inflammasome
  • Post-inflammation irritable bowel syndrome
  • Traditional Chinese medicine
  • Visceral hypersensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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