Altered metabolites in guinea pigs with allergic asthma after acupoint sticking therapy: New insights from a metabolomics approach

Shi jian Xiang, Meng heng Li, Chi on Chan, Qun Shen, Si bao Chen, Bai chao An, Ailsa Chui ying Yuen, Wen feng Wu, Hok him Tang, Si wei Cao, Shi fa Ruan, Zhu xian Wang, Li dong Weng, Hong xia Zhu, Huo ji Chen, Melody Yee Man Wong, Yan Zhang, Daniel Kam wah Mok, Qiang Liu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Clinical evidence gathered in Chinese communities suggested that acupoint sticking therapy could be an alternative treatment for asthma-related diseases. However, its underlying mechanism is still poorly understood. Aim/hypothesis: In this study, we aimed to investigate the mechanism of the anti-inflammatory effect of acupoint sticking application with ‘Treatment of Winter Disease in Summer’ (TWDS) prescription by using metabolomics. Methods: Allergic asthma in guinea pig was sensitized and challenged by ovalbumin (OVA). Histopathological evaluation of the lung tissue was performed by hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining and Masson's trichrome staining. The levels of Th2 cytokine and IgE level in serum were measured using enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA). The mRNA expression levels of IL-4, IL-5, IL-13 and orosomucoid-like 3 (ORMDL3) were measured using quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). Proteins of NF-κB signaling pathway were measured using western blot. The serum metabolomics profiles were obtained by using ultra-performance liquid chromatography combined with electrospray ionization quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UPLC-ESI-QTOF-MS). Results: The overall results confirmed that AST with TWDS prescription had a significant protective effect against OVA-induced allergic asthma in guinea pig. This treatment not only attenuated airway inflammation and collagen deposition in the airway, but also decreased the levels of IL-4, IL-5, IL-13 and IgE in serum. In addition, metabolomics results indicated that metabolisms of phospholipid, sphingolipid, purine, amino acid and level of epinephrine were restored back to the normal control level. Moreover, results of the gene expression of ORMDL3 in lung tissues indicated that AST using TWDS could alter the sphingolipid metabolism. Further western blotting analysis also showed that its anti-inflammatory mechanism was by decreasing the phosphorylation of p65 and IκB. Conclusion: The study demonstrated that metabolomics provides a better understanding of the actions of TWDS acupoint sticking therapy on OVA-induced allergic asthma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-194
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2019


  • Acupoint sticking therapy
  • Asthma
  • Metabolomics
  • NF-κB
  • Treatment of winter disease in summer prescription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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