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Electroacupuncture improves depressive-like symptoms and modulates BDNF signaling in catecholamine-depleted rats.
Increasing evidence suggests that acupuncture or electroacupuncture (EA) can alleviate motor and non-motor symptoms, including tremors, slowness, pain, depression, sleep disturbance, and anxiety. There have been few mechanistic studies on the effects of EA on non-motor symptoms, particularly depressive symptoms. A recent study examined the effect of EA on behavioral features and biochemical changes in the unilaterally 6-OH-dopamine lesioned rats. Four weeks of stimulation with 100 Hz EA significantly increased two antidepressive-like behaviors, sucrose solution consumption and decreased immobility time in the forced swim test. EA treatment did not alter the levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin in the striatum and hippocampus. EA treatment did however reverse the 6-OH-dopamine-induced abnormal expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB) in the midbrain and hippocampus. Thus EA, at 100 Hz, can improve depressive-like symptoms in lesioned rats. This effect is due, at least in part, to changes induced in the mesostriatal and mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic pathways. Moreover, BDNF seems to participate in this effect.

Sun M, Wang K, Yu Y, Su WT, Jiang XX, Yang J, Jia J, Wang XM. Electroacupuncture Alleviates Depressive-Like Symptoms and Modulates BDNF Signaling in 6-Hydroxydopamine Rats. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016;2016:7842362. doi: 10.1155/2016/7842362.
Updated December 2016

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