OBJECTIVE: Cupping therapy has a long history in traditional medicine especially in Asian countries. It was controversial whether cupping induced blisters are beneficial to healing effects, and the formation and content in the blisters remain unexplored. We aimed to identify and compare the molecular components of the blister fluid from the cupping therapy and the scalds to explore the necessary of inducing cupping induced blisters.
METHODS: Fluid sample of blisters from fifteen patients receiving cupping therapy (Cupping group) and scald burns (Scald group) were collected in this study. Proteins from the blisters were separated by two-dimensional electrophoresis (2D-gel) and further analyzed by mass spectrometry. In addition, the changes in particular proteins were confirmed by Western blotting.
RESULTS: The protein components are significantly different between blister from cupping therapy and scalds. The immune responses, oxidative stress and metabolic related proteins (Ig lambda-2 chain C regions, Ig gamma-1 chain C region, hemopexin, prdx2, calmodulin, succinyl-CoA ligase and tetranectin) were increased, whereas the hemoglobin subunit beta was decreased in the Cupping group compared with the Scald group.
CONCLUSIONS: Cupping induced blisters contain several proteins which relate to the activation of certain immune pathways including anti-oxidation, anti-apoptosis, tissue repairing and metabolic regulation. This proteomic analysis may indicate a significant clue to the mechanism study of cupping.