ObjectivesThe purpose of this study was to consecutively capture and quantify nitric oxide (NO) and cGMP, the second messenger of NO, over the skin surface of acupuncture points (acupoints), meridian line without acupoint, and non-meridian control regions of the Pericardium meridian (PC) in humans, and investigate their response to transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) . DESIGN, SETTING, AND MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Adhesive biocapture tubes were attached to the skin surface along PC regions and injected with 2-Phenyl-4,4,5,5-tetramethylimidazoline-3-oxide-1-oxyl solution, an NO-scavenging compound, contacting the skin surface for 20 minutes each during 4 consecutive biocapture intervals. TENS (1.0 mA, 6 Hz, 1.0 msec duration) was applied over acupoints PC 8 and PC 3 during the 2nd biocapture for 20 min. Total nitrite and nitrate (NO(x)-), the stable metabolic products of NO, and cGMP in biocaptured samples were quantified using chemiluminescence and ELISA.
ResultsNO(x)- levels in the 1st biocapture over PC regions are almost two fold higher compared to subsequent biocaptures and are higher over PC acupoints versus non-meridian control region. Following TENS, NO(x)- concentrations over PC regions were significantly increased, and cGMP is predominantly released from the skin surface of PC acupoints.
ConclusionsTENS induces elevations of NO-cGMP concentrations over local skin region with a high level at acupoints. The enhanced signal molecules improve local circulation, which contributes to beneficial effects of the therapy.