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Improved Suspension Fixation Using Rat Jacket in Rat Acupuncture Experiments

Published: August 18th, 2023



1College of Acupuncture and Orthopedics, Hubei University of Chinese Medicine
* These authors contributed equally

Here, we present an improved suspension fixation method using a rat jacket to effectively immobilize rats during acupuncture experiments. Furthermore, the structure and application of this fixation apparatus, as well as instructions and evaluation for its utilization in electroacupuncture therapy, is elucidated.

In basic experimental acupuncture research, rats are commonly used as laboratory animals. However, it is difficult for them to maintain a fixed posture. During electroacupuncture procedures, proper immobilization of rats is essential. Various methods of rat fixation are currently used, including anesthesia fixation, high-platform fixation, binding fixation, and fixation with a self-made rat coat. However, these methods have their limitations, which may affect the efficiency and operability of the experiment to some extent. This protocol introduces a method of suspending and fixing rats using rat clothes. Firstly, rats are clothed with rat jackets that match their body shape, taking advantage of their preference for darkness and burrowing. The needling operation can then be carried out after the rats have worn rat clothes. When suspended, the rats are relatively still, as their limbs cannot move. This fixation method offers not only economical and user-friendly benefits but also ensures a stable and reliable fixation of the rats in a comfortably relaxed position. It also effectively minimizes time consumption, experimental space, and manpower resources. Additionally, this method allows for the exposure of most acupoints used for acupuncture in rats. This article primarily concentrates on the device's composition, encompassing a specially designed rat jacket, an elevated fixation rack, and their connecting structures. Additionally, an illustrative example will be presented to demonstrate the application of the rat clothing-based suspension fixation method in rat electroacupuncture procedures.

Acupuncture is a traditional therapy characterized by needling at specific acupoints or other positions to prevent and treat diseases. Electroacupuncture combines filiform needles with electrical stimulation1, which allows for precise control over the amount of stimulation by adjusting relevant parameters, promoting the standardization of acupuncture treatment2. In recent years, research on the mechanisms of electroacupuncture has continued to expand and deepen3,4, which has led to an annual increase in studies focusing on the mechanisms of electroacupuncture

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All procedures conducted on the rats in this study adhered to the National Standard for Laboratory Animal Welfare and Ethics Review Guidelines (2018) officially adopted by the People's Republic of China and Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals from the National Academies Press15. This protocol is composed of three main steps. Firstly, the rat jackets are tailored and fitted based on the individual body shapes of rats with different weights. Next, acupuncture manipulation is carried.......

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In this experiment, a total of 12 rats were selected for electroacupuncture treatment, and their reactions under the fixation method were observed (as shown in Table 2). Among the 12 rats, only 1 rat exhibited intense struggle during the 15 min electroacupuncture needle retention period. As a result of its vigorous movements, the needle came off midway, accounting for 8.33% of the total number of rats. This outcome suggests that the fixation method used generally demonstrates a notable degree of stabilit.......

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Electroacupuncture has been shown to have good therapeutic effects on various diseases such as cognitive impairment16,17, myocardial injury18, and inflammatory pain19. To understand its mechanism of action, animal experiments primarily using rats have been conducted. Fixation of the animals during the procedures is crucial for accurate results. While many studies have administered electroacupuncture subsequent to an.......

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The authors would like to express their gratitude to the Figdraw scientific research drawing platform of the Home for Researchers for providing the material used to create Figure 2 in this paper, with authorized license ID: URUUO5699e. This work has received support from grants provided by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81873380, 82074566), the Natural Science Foundation of Hubei Province (2022CFCO43), and the National Famous Traditional Chinese Medicine Heritage Studio Construction Project of the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine ([2022] No.5, [2022] No.75).


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Name Company Catalog Number Comments
75% alcohol Shandong Lircon medical technology co., ltd 2002-0059 Disinfection
acupuncture needles Beijing Luo ya shan chuan medical equipment co., Ltd. needling
Adult Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats Liaoning Changsheng biotechnology co., Ltd. SCXK 2020-0001 The recipient  subjected to fixation
an elevated fixation rack  Taizhou shiai instruments and equipments for scientific and teaching research  Co., ltd / Fix rats
Hans electronic acupuncture apparatus Beijing Huayun Ante Science and Technology Co. Ltd.  HANS-200A electroacupuncture
Medical cotton ball Jiangsu Misawa Medical Supplies Co., Ltd. 20172142357 Disinfection
Pet electric clipper Fenghua Xikou Lubao Knives & Scissors Electrical Appliance Factory / Shave the hair of rats
Tweezers Qingdao Schultz Biotechnology Co., ltd Pinch cotton balls

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