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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011, Article ID 735297, 9 pages
Research Article

Low-Frequency Electroacupuncture Improves Insulin Sensitivity in Obese Diabetic Mice through Activation of SIRT1/PGC-1 in Skeletal Muscle

1Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Hubei University of Chinese Medicine, Wuhan 430061, China
2Endocrinology and Metabolism Division, Kanazawa Medical University, 1-1 Daigaku, Kahoku-Gun, Ishikawa 920-0293, Japan
3Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430022, China

Received 6 July 2010; Accepted 23 September 2010

Copyright © 2011 Fengxia Liang 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.


Electroacupuncture (EA) has been observed to reduce insulin resistance in obesity and diabetes. However, the biochemical mechanism underlying this effect remains unclear. This study investigated the effects of low-frequency EA on metabolic action in genetically obese and type 2 diabetic db/db mice. Nine-week-old db/m and db/db mice were randomly divided into four groups, namely, db/m, db/m + EA, db/db, and db/db + EA. db/m + EA and db/db + EA mice received 3-Hz electroacupuncture five times weekly for eight consecutive weeks. In db/db mice, EA tempered the increase in fasting blood glucose, food intake, and body mass and maintained insulin levels. In EA-treated db/db mice, improved insulin sensitivity was established through intraperitoneal insulin tolerance test. EA was likewise observed to decrease free fatty acid levels in db/db mice; it increased protein expression in skeletal muscle Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) and induced gene expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor coactivator (PGC- ), nuclear respiratory factor 1 (NRF1), and acyl-CoA oxidase (ACOX). These results indicated that EA offers a beneficial effect on insulin resistance in obese and diabetic db/db mice, at least partly, via stimulation of SIRT1/PGC- , thus resulting in improved insulin signal.