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J Acupunct Meridian Stud. 2016 Feb;9(1):4-10. doi: 10.1016/j.jams.2015.05.007. Epub 2015 Jun 4.

Hypothalamic Norepinephrine Mediates Acupunctural Effects on Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis During Ethanol Withdrawal.

Author information

1
Department of Pharmacology, Mudanjiang Medical University, Mudanjiang, China.
2
Medical Research Center for Globalization of Herbal Formulation, College of Oriental Medicine, Daegu Haany University, Daegu, South Korea.
3
Department of Pharmacology, School of Korean Medicine, Pusan National University, Yangsan, South Korea.
4
Department of Pharmacology, Mudanjiang Medical University, Mudanjiang, China; Medical Research Center for Globalization of Herbal Formulation, College of Oriental Medicine, Daegu Haany University, Daegu, South Korea. Electronic address: zhao_rongjie@yahoo.com.
5
Department of Pharmacology, Mudanjiang Medical University, Mudanjiang, China. Electronic address: adgzfy@163.com.

Abstract

A previous study demonstrated that acupuncture at ST36 (Zu-San-Li) attenuates ethanol withdrawal (EW)-induced hyperactivation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in rats. The current study investigated the involvement of hypothalamic norepinephrine (NE) in that process. Rats were intraperitoneally treated with 3 g/kg/d of ethanol or saline for 28 days. After 24 hours of EW, acupuncture was applied to rats at bilateral ST36 points or at nonacupoints (tail) for 1 minute. A high-performance liquid chromatography analysis showed that EW significantly increased both the NE and the 3-methoxy-4-hydroxy-phenylglycol (MHPG) levels in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN). Western blot analysis also revealed that EW markedly elevated the phosphorylation rates of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), but spared TH protein expression in the PVN. However, acupuncture at ST36, but not at nonacupoints, greatly inhibited the increase in the hypothalamic NE, MHPG, and phosphorylation rates of TH. Additionally, postacupuncture infusion of NE into the PVN significantly attenuated the inhibitory effects of acupuncture at ST36 on the oversecretion of plasma corticosterone during EW. These results suggest that acupuncture at ST36 inhibits EW-induced hyperactivation of the hypothalamic NEergic system to produce therapeutic effects on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.

KEYWORDS:

acupuncture; corticosterone; ethanol; hypothalamus; norepinephrine; tyrosine hydroxylase

PMID:
26896070
DOI:
10.1016/j.jams.2015.05.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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