Analysis of the effects of acupuncture on depression, based on a study of chronically stressed rat pituitary glands

Researchers from the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine and Beijing Technology And Business University discovered that acupuncture can be used to treat depression at a molecular level.

  • For their study, the investigative team utilized 48 rats that they divided into four groups, with one serving as the control group.
  • The rats from the three other groups were subjected to chronic restraint stress (CRS) over a period of 28 days.
  • While one group of rats only underwent restraining (referred to as the model group), the two remaining rat groups were given either fluoxetine or acupuncture one hour prior to the implementation of CRS procedures.
  • The day after the experiment concluded, the researchers euthanized the rats and gathered their pituitary glands for ribonucleic acid (RNA) extraction and RNA-sequencing examination.
  • They discovered that the number of suppressed differentially expressed (DE) genes were similar between the control and acupuncture groups, with many of these genes being linked to depression.
  • Through Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway enrichment analysis and Gene Ontology (GO) term enrichment analysis, the researchers were able to affirm the similarities between the expressed and suppressed genes of the acupuncture and control groups.

Based on their findings, the investigators reasoned that acupuncture had an antidepressant effect thanks to its ability to target inflammatory and neuroendocrinological processes at a molecular level. They further noted that the study’s results were in line with the belief that psychosis was best remedied with multiple treatments instead of a single regimen.

Find out more at this link.

Journal reference:

Yu W, Huili J, Hong M, Jing L, Xinjing Y, Bingcong, Qiuyun Y, Xingchen L, Tuya B. MOLECULAR-LEVEL EFFECTS OF ACUPUNCTURE ON DEPRESSION: A GENOME-WIDE TRANSCRIPTOME ANALYSIS OF PITUITARY GLAND IN RATS EXPOSED TO CHRONIC RESTRAINT STRESS. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 2017; 37 (4): 486-495. DOI: 10.1016/S0254-6272(17)30155-3

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