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Neurosci Lett. 2006 Feb 27;395(1):28-32. Epub 2005 Nov 10.

Acupuncture normalizes the release of accumbal dopamine during the withdrawal period and after the ethanol challenge in chronic ethanol-treated rats.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, College of Oriental Medicine, Daegu Haany University, Daegu 706-828, South Korea.


Many studies have shown that acupuncture can contribute to the biochemical balance in the central nervous system and maintenance or recovery of homeostasis. It is well known that chronic administration of ethanol may produce depletion or sensitization of extracellular dopamine levels in the nucleus accumbens. The present study was designed to investigate the effects of acupuncture on chronic ethanol-induced changes in extracellular dopamine levels in the nucleus accumbens shell (using in vivo microdialysis in unanesthetized rats). Male Sprague-Dawley rats were treated with 3 g/kg/day of ethanol (20%, w/v) or saline by intraperitoneal injection for 21 days. Following 72 h of ethanol withdrawal, acupuncture was applied at bilateral Shenmen (HT7) points for 1 min. Different group of rats using the same paradigm of ethanol treatment were acupunctured at the same points after the systemic ethanol challenge (3 g/kg, i.p.). Acupuncture at the specific acupoint HT7, but not at control points (PC6 or tail) significantly prevented both a decrease of extracellular dopamine levels in the nucleus accumbens during ethanol withdrawal and an increase in accumbal dopamine levels induced by the ethanol challenge. These results provided strong evidence that stimulation of the specific acupoint HT7 helps to normalize the release of dopamine in the mesolimbic system following chronic ethanol treatment.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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