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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 650729, 8 pages
Research Article

Effects of Electroacupuncture on Chronic Unpredictable Mild Stress Rats Depression-Like Behavior and Expression of p-ERK/ERK and p-P38/P38

1Shanghai Municipal Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 200071, China
2Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou 510405, China
3University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA
4School of Chinese Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong

Received 20 December 2014; Revised 7 April 2015; Accepted 12 May 2015

Academic Editor: Antonella Di Sotto

Copyright © 2015 Jian Xu 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.


We investigate the antidepressant-like effect and mechanism of electroacupuncture (EA) on a chronic unpredictable mild stress rats depression-like behavior. In our study, depression in rats was induced by unpredictable chronic mild stress (UCMS) and isolation for four weeks. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into four groups: Normal, Model, EA, and Sham EA. EA treatment was administered for two weeks, once a day for five days a week. Two acupoints, Yintang (EX-HN3) and Baihui (GV20), were selected. For sham EA, acupuncture needles were inserted shallowly into the acupoints: EX-HN3 and GV20. No electrostimulator was connected. The antidepressant-like effect of the electroacupuncture treatment was measured by sucrose intake test, open field test, and forced swimming test in rats. The protein levels of phosphorylated extracellular regulated protein kinases (p-ERK1/2)/ERK1/2 and p-P38/P38 in the hippocampus (HP) were examined by Western blot analysis. Our data demonstrate that EA treatment decreased the immobility time of forced swimming test and improved the sucrose solution intake in comparison to unpredictable chronic mild stress and placebo sham control. Electroacupuncture may act on depression by enhancing p-ERK1/2 and p-p38 in the hippocampus.