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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 134610, 13 pages
Research Article

Electroacupuncture Reduces Cocaine-Induced Seizures and Mortality in Mice

1Graduate Institute of Acupuncture Science, China Medical University, Taichung 40402, Taiwan
2Children’s University Hospital, Limbova 1, Bratislava, Slovakia
3Graduate Institute of Neural and Cognitive Sciences, China Medical University, Taichung 40402, Taiwan
4School of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung 40402, Taiwan

Received 9 January 2013; Accepted 17 February 2013

Academic Editor: Gerhard Litscher

Copyright © 2013 Yi-Hung Chen 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.


The aims of this study were to characterize the protective profile of electroacupuncture (EA) on cocaine-induced seizures and mortality in mice. Mice were treated with EA (2 Hz, 50 Hz, and 100 Hz), or they underwent needle insertion without anesthesia at the Dazhui (GV14) and Baihui (GV20) acupoints before cocaine administration. EA at 50 Hz applied to GV14 and GV20 significantly reduced the seizure severity induced by a single dose of cocaine (75 mg/kg; i.p.). Furthermore, needle insertion into GV14 and GV20 and EA at 2 Hz and 50 Hz at both acupoints significantly reduced the mortality rate induced by a single lethal dose of cocaine (125 mg/kg; i.p.). In the sham control group, EA at 50 Hz applied to bilateral Tianzong (SI11) acupoints had no protective effects against cocaine. In addition, EA at 50 Hz applied to GV14 and GV20 failed to reduce the incidence of seizures and mortality induced by the local anesthetic procaine. In an immunohistochemistry study, EA (50 Hz) pretreatment at GV14 and GV20 decreased cocaine (75 mg/kg; i.p.)-induced c-Fos expression in the paraventricular thalamus. While the dopamine D3 receptor antagonist, SB-277011-A (30 mg/kg; s.c), did not by itself affect cocaine-induced seizure severity, it prevented the effects of EA on cocaine-induced seizures. These results suggest that EA alleviates cocaine-induced seizures and mortality and that the dopamine D3 receptor is involved, at least in part, in the anticonvulsant effects of EA in mice.