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J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2002 Aug;18(4):293-305.

Ocular hypotension induced by electroacupuncture.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30310-1495, USA.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of electroacupuncture (EA) on aqueous humor dynamics in rabbits. EA stimulation was performed through two acupuncture needles placed in close proximity to the sciatic nerve. The sites of needle entry were anesthetized. After 1 hr of EA stimulation, intraocular pressure (IOP) decreased and was accompanied by reductions of blood pressure and aqueous humor flow rate. The maximum reduction of IOP was 9 mmHg at 3 hr and decreases in norepinephrine and dopamine levels in aqueous humor occurred simultaneously. In addition, EA stimulation induced an 8-fold increase of endorphin levels in aqueous humor. Ocular hypotension induced by EA lasted for more than 9 hrs and was antagonized by naloxone pretreatment. Furthermore, the EA-induced ocular hypotension was reduced markedly in sympathetically denervated eyes compared with the response of intact, normal eyes. Antagonism of EA-induced ocular hypotension by naloxone, suppression of aqueous humor flow and catecholamine levels by EA and elevation of endorphin levels in aqueous humor by EA indicate that opioids/opiate receptors are involved in modulating ocular hydrodynamics in response to EA.

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