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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011, Article ID 429843, 8 pages
Original Article

Acupuncture Attenuates Anxiety-Like Behavior by Normalizing Amygdaloid Catecholamines during Ethanol Withdrawal in Rats

1Department of Pharmacology, Mudanjiang Medical University, Mudanjiang 157011, China
2Department of Surgery, Medical College of Yanbian University, Yanji 133000, China
3The Research Center for Biomedical Resource of Oriental Medicine, Daegu Haany University, Daegu 706-828, Republic of Korea
4Department of Pharmacology, Medical School of Chonbuk National University, Chonju, Chonbuk 561-180, Republic of Korea

Received 30 January 2010; Accepted 9 April 2010

Copyright © 2011 Zheng Lin Zhao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Previously, we demonstrated acupuncture at acupoint HT7 (Shen-Men) attenuated ethanol withdrawal syndrome by normalizing the dopamine release in nucleus accumbens shell. In the present study, we investigated the effect of acupuncture on anxiety-like behavior in rats and its relevant mechanism by studying neuro-endocrine parameters during ethanol withdrawal. Rats were treated with 3 g kg−1day−1 of ethanol (20%, w/v) or saline by intraperitoneal injections for 28 days. The rats undergoing ethanol withdrawal exhibited anxiety-like behavior 72 h after the last dose of ethanol characterized by the decrease of time spent in the open arms of the elevated plus maze compared with the saline-treated rats (P < .05). Radioimmunoassay exhibited there were notably increased concentrations of plasma corticosterone in ethanol-withdrawn rats compared with saline-treated rats (P < .05). Additionally, high performance liquid chromatography analysis also showed the levels of norepinephrine and 3-methoxy-4-hydroxy-phenylglycol were markedly increased while the levels of dopamine and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid were significantly decreased in the central nucleus of the amygdala of ethanol-withdrawn rats compared with saline-treated rats (P < .01). Acupuncture groups were treated with acupuncture at acupoint HT7 or PC6 (Nei-Guan). Acupuncture at HT7 but not PC6 greatly attenuated the anxiety-like behavior during ethanol withdrawal as evidenced by significant increases in the percentage of time spent in open arms (P < .05). In the meantime, acupuncture at HT7 also markedly inhibited the alterations of neuro-endocrine parameters induced by ethanol withdrawal (P < .05). These results suggest that acupuncture may attenuate anxiety-like behavior during ethanol withdrawal through regulation of neuro-endocrine system.