Introduction: Epithelial barrier disruption is the initial cause of various diseases. We previously reported that acupoint catgut embedding (AE) improves tight junction proteins (TJs) in rats with allergic rhinitis. However, whether AE improves the epithelial barrier in local allergic rhinitis (LAR) remains unknown. Methods: A total of 36 Sprague Dawley (SD) male rats aged 5–7 weeks were divided into 6 groups with 6 rats each: control group, LAR model group, false acupoint embedding + LAR group, acupoint embedding + LAR group, capsaicin + LAR group, and tunicamycin + acupoint embedding + LAR group. Behavioral observation, ELISA to detect inflammatory factors in nasal lavage fluid and serum IgE, nasal mucosal permeability test, hematoxylin-eosin staining, PCR to detect Substance P (SP), Western blot, and immunofluorescence to detect endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS) index and TJs were used to investigate the mechanism of AE in LAR. Results: AE improved the symptoms and pathological features of nasal mucosa of LAR rats, reduced the inflammatory factors (IL4, IL5, IL13) of nasal lavage fluid, and showed no significant change in serum IgE levels in all groups. In addition, AE decreased the expression of SP in nasal mucosa of LAR rats, inhibited ERS, increased the expression of tight junction protein, reduced the permeability of nasal mucosa, and improved the function of nasal mucosal barrier. Conclusion: This study confirms that AE can improve the nasal mucosal barrier function of LAR by reducing the expression of SP, inhibiting ERS and increasing the expression of TJs, thus enhancing the nasal mucosal barrier function.

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