Just how effective is acupuncture in treating anxiety-like symptoms?

Acupuncture was found to be effective against depressive and anxiety-like symptoms caused by lipopolysaccharides (LPS). A study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine looked into the effects of acupuncture on the expression of serotonin transporters (SERT) in the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) and how the treatment affected LPS-induced behavioral changes.

  • The researchers treated rats with LPS.
  • The animals were divided into three; each group was given acupuncture at oneĀ of three specific acupoints: ST41 (Jiexi), LI11 (Quchi), or SI3 (Houxi).
  • The rats were tested for anxiety using an elevated plus maze (EPM) and an open field test (OFT) after acupuncture.
  • The expression of SERT in the DRN was also examined using immunohistochemistry.
  • Acupuncture at ST41 considerably reduced anxiety as shown in EPM and OFT and lowered SERT expression in the DRN.
  • The same results were not seen in acupuncture at the LI11 and SI3 acupoints.

The researchers concluded that acupuncture may be able to regulate the expression of SERT at the DRN, leading to reductions in anxiety-like symptoms. They suggested further studies on the anti-inflammatory properties of acupuncture.

Read the full text of the study at this link.

Journal Reference:

Yang TY, Jang EY, Ryu Y, Lee GW, Lee EB, Chang S, Lee JH, Koo JS, Yang CH, Kim HY. EFFECT OF ACUPUNCTURE ON LIPOPOLYSACCHARIDE-INDUCED ANXIETY-LIKE BEHAVIORAL CHANGES: INVOLVEMENT OF SEROTONIN SYSTEM IN DORSAL RAPHE NUCLEUS. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 11 December 2017;17(1). (528). DOI: 10.1186/s12906-017-2039-y

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