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Home > Newsletters > April 2006 > Recent Research

Points - Recent Research

Acupuncture Stimulates the Release of Serotonin, but not Dopamine, in the Rat Nucleus Accumbens

A Clinical Study of Acupuncture and SSP (Silver Spike Point) Electro-therapy for Dry Eye Syndrome

Photodynamic Effect of Curcumin on NPC/CNE2 Cells


Acupuncture Stimulates the Release of Serotonin, but not Dopamine, in the Rat Nucleus Accumbens

Yoshimoto K, et al., Department of Forensic Medicine, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine.

Acupuncture has been introduced as one of the available therapies widely used in alternative medicine, but it has not achieved widespread acceptance with scientific evidence. Furthermore there are still many unanswered questions about the basic mechanisms of acupuncture. To investigate the neuropharmacological mechanisms of oriental acupuncture, we studied the acupuncture-induced changes of in vivo monoamine release in the rat brain. A microdialysis guide cannula was implanted into the nucleus accumbens (ACC), which plays an important role in the brain reward system. Acupuncture treatment at the unilateral or bilateral Shenshu (bladder urinary channel 23) acupoints, located on the both sides of the spinous processes on the lower back, was carried out for 60 min in freely moving rats, and the dopamine (DA) and serotonin (5-HT) contents of the microdialysates in the ACC were measured simultaneously. In rats subjected to acupuncture at bilateral Shenshu acupoints, increases of 5-HT release in the ACC were observed at 20 min of acupuncture treatment and continued until 40 min after acupuncture was ended. Acupuncture at a unilateral Shenshu acupoint increased the release of 5-HT at 20 min compared with that in the sham-control group. Five-HT release returned to the baseline level at 120 min. The effects of acupuncture at bilateral Shenshu acupoints on the release of 5-HT in the ACC were greater than that of unilateral acupuncture treatment. In contrast, DA release in the ACC was not changed following acupuncture treatment. Effective acupuncture increased and prolonged the activity of serotonergic neurons in the reward system pathway of the brain. This suggests that oriental acupuncture therapy may be effective for the treatment of emotional disorders, drug abuse and alcoholism.

Tohoku J Exp Med. 2006 Apr;208(4):321-6.

Source PubMed


A Clinical Study of Acupuncture and SSP (Silver Spike Point) Electro-therapy for Dry Eye Syndrome

Tseng KL, et al., Graduate Institute of Integration Chinese and Western Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan, ROC.

The present study was designed as a clinical trial to assess the efficacy of acupuncture and silver spike point (SSP) electro-therapy on dry eye syndrome. A total of 43 dry eye syndrome patients participated in the present study. Subjects were divided into control, acupuncture and SSP electro-therapy groups. The three groups were all given artificial tears treatment. Patients in the treatment groups were given two 20-minute treatments of either acupuncture or SSP. Assessment was carried out using the Basal Schirmer test, tear break-up time (BUT), visual analog scale (VAS) and an overall score of eye condition. After four weeks of treatment, both the acupuncture and SSP treatment groups showed improvements over the control group, in Schirmer tests of the left eye and average tearing of both eyes. After 8 weeks of treatment, both treatment groups showed improvements over the control group both in Schirmer tests and VAS. For the right eye, treatment groups showed significant improvements in Schirmer test and VAS versus the control group averages for both eyes. There was no significant difference in BUT at any time. Comparing scores before and after treatment, the acupuncture and SSP groups showed a significant improvement compared to the control group. The acupuncture group showed a greater 8-week improvement in Schirmer tests scores compared to the SSP group. However, the SSP group patients used fewer applications of artificial tears. Acupuncture and SSP electro-therapy were effective in increasing tear secretion in patients with dry eye syndrome. The SSP electro-therapy not only alleviated dry eye syndrome, but also reduced the number of applications of artificial tears necessary.

Am J Chin Med. 2006;34(2):197-206.

Source: PubMed


Photodynamic Effect of Curcumin on NPC/CNE2 Cells

Koon H, et al., Department of Biology, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China.

Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is highly prevalent in Southern China. Radiotherapy is the primary treatment of NPC, but the rate of tumor recurrence is significant. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) and the use of natural compounds become one of the new approaches in the investigation of NPC treatment. PDT is an alternate method of cancer treatment while curcumin (CUR) is a compound derived from the traditional Chinese medicinal (TCM) herbs. The purpose of the study focuses on the photodynamic effect of CUR on one of the NPC cell lines, NPC/CNE2. Cytotoxicity and photocytotoxicity of CUR were evaluated by 3-(4,5-dimthyl-thiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) reduction assay. Uptake kinetics of CUR in NPC/CNE2 was examined by flow cytometry. The mode of cell death induced by CUR was studied by fluorescence microscopy. Summarizing the results, CUR showed dark cytotoxicity as well as photocytotoxic effects on NPC/CNE2 cells. LC50 of CUR in the dark was about 16 muM. The cytotoxicity of CUR was enhanced by the irradiation of visible light and blue filtered light (maximum transmittance at 300 approximately 400 nm) with light doses of 300 kJ/m2 and 60 kJ/m2 respectively. NPC/CNE2 was found to rapidly take up CUR in the first hour of incubation, and the uptake kinetics steadily increased to a plateau level after 20 hr of incubation. Cell shrinkage and membrane bledding appeared under the observation of fluorescence microscopy. Such evidences proved that CUR might induce apoptosis on NPC/CNE2 cells. The preliminary study confirmed that CUR demonstrated dark cytotoxicity and photocytotoxicty to NPC/CNE2. The mode of action is likely to be induced by apoptotic pathway. CUR may be developed as a potential photosensitizer as well as a chemotherapeutic agent in clinical application.

J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol. 2006;25(1-2):205-16.

Source: PubMed
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This Month's Articles

April 2006
Volume 4, Number 4

Why You Need To Spring-Clean Your Body

Being Green

Special Exercises for Eye Disorders

Recent Research

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