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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 107380, 12 pages
Research Article

Enhanced Antidepressant-Like Effects of Electroacupuncture Combined with Citalopram in a Rat Model of Depression

1Beijing Anding Hospital, Capital Medical University, 5 Ankang Alley, Beijing 100088, China
2School of Arts and Law, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Beijing 100029, China
3Department of Physiology and Neurobiology, Capital Medical University, Key Laboratory for Neurodegenerative Disease of Education Ministry, 10 You An Men, Beijing 100069, China

Received 16 February 2013; Revised 13 April 2013; Accepted 22 April 2013

Academic Editor: Vitaly Napadow

Copyright © 2013 Jian Yang 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.


Currently, antidepressants are the dominative treatment for depression, but they have limitations in efficacy and may even produce troublesome side effects. Electroacupuncture (EA) has been reported to have therapeutic benefits in the treatment of depressive disorders. The present study was conducted to determine whether EA could enhance the antidepressant efficacy of a low dose of citalopram (an SSRI antidepressant) in the chronic unpredictable stress-induced depression model rats. Here, we show that a combined treatment with 2 Hz EA and 5 mg/kg citalopram for three weeks induces a significant improvement in depressive-like symptoms as detected by sucrose preference test, open field test, and forced swimming test, whereas these effects were not observed with either of the treatments alone. Further investigations revealed that 2 Hz EA plus 5 mg/kg citalopram produced a remarkably increased expression of BDNF and its receptor TrkB in the hippocampus compared with those measured in the vehicle group. Our findings suggest that EA combined with a low dose of citalopram could produce greater therapeutic effects, thereby, predictive of a reduction in drug side effects.