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J Tradit Chin Med. 2006 Jun;26(2):138-47.

Acupuncture increases bone strength by improving mass and structure in established osteoporosis after ovariectomy in rats.

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Research Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Suzuka University of Medical Science, Japan.


The effects of acupuncture on bone biomechanical properties and histomorphometry in ovariectomized (OVX) rats were studied. Twenty-four 8-week-old female Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly assigned to three groups: sham, model and acupuncture. Rats in the model and acupuncture groups were ovariectomized, while those in the sham group underwent a sham operation. All rats were anesthetized and fastened for 15 minutes, and for the acupuncture group, needling on Pishu (BL20) and Shenshu (BL23) was performed. Blood and urine were collected to measure serum osteocalcin (OC) and urinary calcium, phosphorus or deoxypyridinoline (Dpd). After 16 weeks of treatment, all the rats were killed and their tibiae and femora were removed. The tibiae were used for analyses of bone histomorphometry and the femora for a three-point bending test. Acupuncture gave significant protection against ovariectomy-caused decline on femoral strength in the mechanical test, increased the trabecular bone volume and thickness, lowered the trabecular separation of tibiae and restricted the excretion of phosphorus and Dpd, while promoting the concentrations of serum osteocalcin as compared with model rats. These results seemed to indicate that acupuncture on the points of Pishu (BL20) and Shenshu (BL23) not only promoted the bone formation but also suppressed the bone resorption induced by OVX in osteoporotic rats, which suggests that it would be a potentially useful and convenient method in preventing osteoporosis.

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