The Status and Future of Acupuncture Mechanism Research

This paper summarizes important invited lectures in the area of basic and translational acupuncture research

Vitaly Napadow; Andrew Ahn; John Longhurst; Lixing Lao; Elisabet Stener-Victorin; Richard Harris; Helene M. Langevin

2008

Scholarcy highlights

  • In November 8–9, 2007, the Society for Acupuncture Research hosted an international conference to mark the tenth anniversary of the landmark NIH Consensus Development Conference on Acupuncture
  • We have demonstrated that low-frequency but not high-frequency EA effectively stimulates somatic afferents to provide input to regions such as the rostral ventrolateral medulla that regulate sympathetic outflow
  • Using a positive and a negative electrode connected to needles at two adjacent acupoints, we have demonstrated that acupoints P5–P6, LI10–LI11, LI4–LI7, and St36–St37 effectively lower blood pressure, whereas LI6–LI7 and G37–G39 are ineffective
  • We found that EA did not increase plasma corticosterone and adrenocorticotropic hormone levels in naive rats, which suggests that EA affects healthy and pathologic conditions differently
  • In recent studies on an estradiol valerate–induced rat polycystic ovary model, we showed that repeated low-frequency EA treatments resulted in a reduction of high ovarian nerve growth factor, corticotrophin-releasing factor, and endothelin-1 concentrations—all markers for sympathetic activity—as well as increased low hypothalamic b-endorphin concentrations and immune function
  • What is of great importance is that we have shown that low-frequency EA and exercise ameliorate insulin resistance in rats with Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Fibroblasts within the loose connective tissue respond to this mechanical stimulation with active cytoskeletal remodeling that may have important downstream effects within connective tissue. the relationship between these connective-tissue responses and clinical effects remains unknown, the intriguing overlap between acupuncture meridians and connective tissue suggests a possible relevance of this connective-tissue model to poorly understood Traditional Chinese Medicine concepts, such as propagation of effects along acupuncture meridians. It is important to emphasize that these mechanistic models are not mutually exclusive

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