Objective To observe the effect of moxibustion on experimental rheumatoid arthritis(RA) and changes of intestinal flora in rats. Methods Forty-six SD rats were randomly divided into normal control group(10 rats), normal moxibustion group(12 rats), RA model group(12 rats) or RA moxibustion group(12 rats). The rats in RA model group and RA moxibustion group were treated using bovine type II collagen induction method to induce RA. The normal moxibustion group and RA moxibustion group were given moxibustion on both sides of Shenshu and Zusanli. The normal control group and RA model group were not given moxibustion treatment. The body weight, toe volume, AI score, ratios of bacillus/coccus and gram-positive bacilli/total number of bacteria were measured after successful modeling and 1, 2 and 3 weeks after moxibustion intervention. Results The clinical manifestations of rats after successful modeling were worse than those in the normal control group, with lower body weight, larger toe volume, higher AI score, and lower ratios of bacillus/coccus and gram-positive bacilli/total number of bacteria(P<0.05 or P<0.01). After moxibustion intervention, the general condition improved, body weight increased, toe volume increased steadily, AI score decreased, and the ratios of bacillus/coccus and gram-positive bacilli/total number of bacteria increased. The clinical manifestations of RA and intestinal flora were significantly correlated. There were significant differences in the ratios of bacillus/coccus and gram-positive bacilli/total number of bacteria between the RA model group and RA moxibustion group(P<0.05 or P<0.01). Conclusion Moxibustion can effectively treat arthritis rats induced by collagen type II and regulates intestinal flora disorder;the latter may be one of the important mechanisms of moxibustion in treating rheumatoid arthritis.
Chinese Journal of Microecology