Asthma is a chronic airway inflammatory disease and acupuncture is frequently used in patients suffering from asthma in clinic. However, the regulatory mechanism of acupuncture treatment in asthma is not fully elucidated. We sought to investigate the effectiveness of acupuncture on asthma and the associated regulatory mechanism. An ovalbumin (OVA)-induced mouse asthma model was established and the effect of acupuncture on airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), mucus hypersecretion and inflammation was assessed. Tandem mass tag (TMT)-based quantitative proteomics analysis of lung tissue and bioinformatics analysis were performed. Our results revealed that the OVA-induced mouse asthma model was successfully established with the significantly elevated AHR to methacholine (Mch), and acupuncture was effective in attenuation of AHR to Mch, peribronchial and perivascular inflammation and mucus production. The inflammatory cells around the airways, mucous secretion as well as levels of IgE, CCL5, CCL11, IL-17A in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13 levels in serum were siginificantly inhibited by acupuncture. TMT-based quantitative proteomics analysis found that a total of 6078 quantifiable proteins were identified, and 564 (334 up-regulated and 230 down regulated) differentially expressed proteins (DEPs) were identified in OVA-induced asthma model group (A) versus normal control group (NC). Acupuncture treatment resulted in 667 DEPs (416 up-regulated and 251 down regulated) compared with A group, and 86 overlapping DEPs were identified in NC, A and AA groups. Among the 86 overlapping DEPs, we identified 41 DEPs regulated by acupuncture. Based on the above data, we performed a systematic bioinformatics analysis of the 41 DEPs, and results showed that these 41 DEPs were predominantly related to 4 KEGG pathways including SNARE interactions in vesicular transport, ferroptosis, endocrine and other factor-regulated calcium reabsorption, and protein digestion and absorption. DEPs of SLC3A2 and ATP1A3 expression levels were verified by immumohistochemical staining. Mice in OVA-induced asthma model group had elevated SLC3A2 and ATP1A3 expression and acupuncture had the ability to downregulate SLC3A2 and ATP1A3 protein expression. Furthermore, acupuncture reduced the MDA level and increased the GSH and SOD levels in the lung tissue. Taken together, our data suggested that acupuncture was effective in treating asthma by attenuation of AHR, mucus secretion and airway inflammation, and the mechanism was associated with regulation of ferroptosis, SLC3A2 and ATP1A3 protein expression as well as oxidative stress. Results from our experiments revealed the anti-inflammatory effect of acupuncture in OVA-induced mouse asthma model, leading to a more effective approach to be chosen by patients in clinic.
Copyright © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Masson SAS.. All rights reserved.