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Neurosci Lett. 2008 Oct 10;443(3):213-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2008.07.069. Epub 2008 Jul 31.

Differential involvement of GABA system in mediating behavioral and neurochemical effect of acupuncture in ethanol-withdrawn rats.

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College of Oriental Medicine, Daegu Haany University, Daegu, South Korea.


In our previous study we demonstrated that acupuncture at Shenmen (HT7) points suppressed a decrease of accumbal dopamine (DA) release in ethanol-withdrawn rats. Furthermore, here we found that it inhibited behavioral withdrawal signs of ethanol. In an effort to better understand the mechanisms underlying this inhibition, the potential role of GABA receptor system in acupuncture was investigated. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were treated with 3g/kg/day of ethanol (20%, w/v) or saline by intraperitoneal injection for 21 days. Following 48 or 72h of ethanol withdrawal, acupuncture was applied at bilateral HT7 for 1min. The selective GABA(A) antagonist bicuculline and the selective GABA(B) antagonist SCH 50911 were injected intraperitoneally 20min before acupuncture, respectively. Importantly, suppressive effects of acupuncture on DA deficiency were completely abolished by SCH 50911, but not by bicuculline, whereas ameliorating effects of acupuncture on ethanol withdrawal syndrome were completely blocked either by SCH 50911 or bicuculline. These results suggest that acupuncture at specific acupoint HT7 may normalize the DA release in the mesolimbic system and attenuate withdrawal syndrome through the GABA(B) receptor system in ethanol-withdrawn rats.

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