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Brain Res. 2012 Sep 7;1472:149-60. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2012.07.009. Epub 2012 Jul 13.

Modulatory effects of acupuncture on murine depression-like behavior following chronic systemic inflammation.

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  • 1Acupuncture and Meridian Science Research Center, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 130701, Republic of Korea. sunohkwon@khu.ac.kr


Depression associated with inflammatory immune responses may be an important medical problem from the perspective of quality of life in old age because chronic inflammation is recognized to have a close connection with the aging process. Activated proinflammatory cytokines induce depression-like behavior by stimulating the expression of indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase, an enzyme catalyzing the conversion of tryptophan to kynurenine, and by reducing brain synaptic activities of serotonin and dopamine. Experimental inoculation of Bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccine (BCG) in the mouse gradually and continuously elicits chronic inflammation-associated depression-like behavior. Despite extensive use of acupuncture therapy for treating various psychosomatic disorders in the Oriental medicine, an experimental study showing antidepressant-like activity of acupuncture stimulation has not been performed in the inflammation-associated depression-like animal behavior yet. In the present study, the antidepressant-like activity of acupuncture and its mechanism of action were investigated in BCG-inoculated mice. We confirmed that acupuncture stimulation significantly reduced depression-like behavior and that it lowered the kynurenine/tryptophan ratio and raised the serum kynurenic acid/3-hydroxykynurenine ratio. Acupuncture also relieved the hippocampal dopamine level that was lowered by BCG inoculation. Taken together, these findings may indicate that acupuncture has antidepressant-like effects on murine chronic inflammation-associated depression-like behavior due to its modulatory effects on tryptophan-kynurenine metabolism and dopamine metabolism in the brain.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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