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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2016, Article ID 4958312, 13 pages
Research Article

The Role of Hippocampal Estradiol Receptor-α in a Perimenopausal Affective Disorders-Like Rat Model and Attenuating of Anxiety by Electroacupuncture

1Department of Integrative Medicine and Neurobiology, State Key Laboratory of Medical Neurobiology, Shanghai Medical College, Institute of Acupuncture Research (WHO Collaborating Center for Traditional Medicine), Institutes of Brain Science, Brain Science Collaborative Innovation Center, Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, China
22008 Clinical Medicine, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, China

Received 8 June 2016; Revised 16 October 2016; Accepted 25 October 2016

Academic Editor: Tadaaki Satou

Copyright © 2016 Xun Wang 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.


Hormone replacement therapy is the principal treatment for perimenopausal affective disorders which can cause severe side effects. The present study compared the effects of electroacupuncture (EA) and estradiol treatment on perimenopausal affective disorders at the behavioral and cellular levels. In this randomized experimental in vivo study, adult female rats were divided into intact, ovariectomy, chronic unpredictable stress (CUS), and ovariectomy and CUS combination groups. After week 6, all groups were subdivided to three subgroups of control, EA, and estradiol treatment. The behavioral parameters in the open field and the elevated plus maze tests were assessed before and after treatments. Alterations of serum steroid hormones and changes of estradiol receptor-α (ER-α) immunofluorescence neurons in the hippocampus sections were evaluated. EA treatment caused more antianxiety effects than estradiol treatment in CUS group (). Notably, estradiol and EA treatments had better significant behavioral effects when the models were not estrogen-deficient. Importantly, within each group, compared to the control group, the numbers of ER-α-positive neurons were significantly larger in EA subgroups. Therefore, EA had antianxiety effects on perimenopausal affective disorders caused by CUS but not by estrogen deficiency and upregulation of hippocampus ER-α neurons may contribute to its mechanism of action.