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J Periodontol. 2015 Jun;86(6):801-11. doi: 10.1902/jop.2015.140630. Epub 2015 Mar 5.

Effects of electroacupuncture on experimental periodontitis in rats.

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*Department of Clinical Dentistry, Federal University of Ceará, Fortaleza, Ceará, Brazil.
†Department of Morphology, Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Ceará.
‡Department of Basic Sciences, Division of Histology, Dental School of Aracatuba, São Paulo State University, Aracatuba, São Paulo, Brazil.
§Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Ceará.
‖Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Periodontology, Ribeirao Preto School of Dentistry, University of São Paulo, Ribeirao Preto, São Paulo, Brazil.
¶Department of Veterinary Pathology, São Paulo State University, Jaboticabal, São Paulo, Brazil.



Acupuncture has shown the capability of modulating the immuno-inflammatory response of the host. This study aims to evaluate the effects of electroacupuncture (EA) on ligature-induced periodontitis in rats.


Thirty-two animals were divided into four groups: 1) control; 2) experimental periodontitis (EP); 3) sham-treated (EP/EA-sham); and 4) treated with EA (EP/EA). For the EP groups, a ligature was placed around the right mandibular first molars at day 1. Sessions of EA or EA-sham were assigned every other day. For EA treatment, large intestine meridian points LI4 and LI11 and stomach meridian points ST36 and ST44 were used. EA-sham was performed in off-meridian points. Animals were euthanized at day 11. Histomorphometric and microtomographic analyses were performed. Immunolabeling patterns for the receptor activator of nuclear factor κB ligand (RANKL), osteoprotegerin (OPG), and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) were assessed. Expressions of interleukin (IL)-1β, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-8, IL-6, and cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 messenger RNAs (mRNAs) were evaluated by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Data were analyzed statistically (P <0.05, analysis of variance).


Histomorphometric and microtomographic analyses demonstrated that group EP/EA presented reduced alveolar bone loss when compared to group EP (P <0.05). Reduced RANKL immunolabeling and fewer TRAP-positive multinucleated cells were observed in the EA-treated group in relation to group EP. No differences were observed in OPG expression among groups. EA treatment decreased the genic expression of IL-1β and MMP-8 (P <0.05), increased the mRNA expression of IL-6 (P <0.05), and did not modify the genic expression of COX-2 in animals with EP (P >0.05).


It can be concluded that EA reduced periodontal tissue breakdown and the expression of some proinflammatory mediators and a proresorptive factor in EP in rats.


Bone resorption; electroacupuncture; inflammation mediators; periodontitis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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