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Neural Regen Res. 2016 Apr;11(4):610-6. doi: 10.4103/1673-5374.180746.

Moxibustion upregulates hippocampal progranulin expression.

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Department of Integrative Medicine, Huashan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, China; College of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, Fudan University, Shanghai, China.
E-institute of Shanghai Municipal Education Committee, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, China.


In China, moxibustion is reported to be useful and has few side effects for chronic fatigue syndrome, but its mechanisms are largely unknown. More recently, the focus has been on the wealth of information supporting stress as a factor in chronic fatigue syndrome, and largely concerns dysregulation in the stress-related hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. In the present study, we aimed to determine the effect of moxibustion on behavioral symptoms in chronic fatigue syndrome rats and examine possible mechanisms. Rats were subjected to a combination of chronic restraint stress and forced swimming to induce chronic fatigue syndrome. The acupoints Guanyuan (CV4) and Zusanli (ST36, bilateral) were simultaneously administered moxibustion. Untreated chronic fatigue syndrome rats and normal rats were used as controls. Results from the forced swimming test, open field test, tail suspension test, real-time PCR, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and western blot assay showed that moxibustion treatment decreased mRNA expression of corticotropin-releasing hormone in the hypothalamus, and adrenocorticotropic hormone and corticosterone levels in plasma, and markedly increased progranulin mRNA and protein expression in the hippocampus. These findings suggest that moxibustion may relieve the behavioral symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, at least in part, by modulating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and upregulating hippocampal progranulin.


adrenocorticotropic hormone; behavioral symptoms; chronic fatigue syndrome; corticosterone; corticotrophin-releasing hormone; hippocampus; hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis; moxibustion; nerve regeneration; neural regeneration; progranulin; traditional Chinese medicine

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