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Electric acupuncture on Zusanli (ST36) can reduce obesity




The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of electroacupuncture (EA) ST36 on food intake and body weight in Obese Prone (OP) rats compared to obese resistant (OR) strain on a high fat diet. The influences of EA on mRNA levels of pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC), transient receptor potential vanilloid type-1 (TRPV1), and neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) were also examined in the medulla regions and ST36 skin tissue.


Advanced EA ST36 was conducted in two sessions of 20min separated by an 80min interval for 7 days. Food intake and body weight were recorded in conscious rats every day. Real time PCR was conducted in the micropunches of the medulla regions and skin tissues at the end of the treatment.


Food intake and body weight were significantly reduced by advanced EA ST36 in OP rats, but slightly decreased in OR strain and sham-EA rats. Advanced EA ST36 produced a marked increase in POMC mRNA level in the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS) and hypoglossal nucleus (HN) regions. TRPV1 and nNOS mRNAs were simultaneously increased in the NTS/gracile nucleus regions and in the ST36 skin regions by the EA treatment in OP rats.


We conclude that advanced EA ST36 produces an up-regulation of anorexigenic factor POMC production in the NTS/HN, which inhibits food intake and reduces body weight. EA-induced expression of TRPV1-nNOS in the ST36 and the NTS/gracile nucleus is involved in the signal transduction of EA stimuli via somatosensory afferents-medulla pathways.

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