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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2016, Article ID 7950635, 9 pages
Research Article

Electroacupuncture Restores 5-HT System Deficit in Chronic Mild Stress-Induced Depressed Rats

1Department of Health Care of South Building, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing 100853, China
2Acupuncture College of Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing 100029, China
3Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing 10029, China
4Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing 100853, China

Received 1 June 2016; Revised 21 August 2016; Accepted 14 September 2016

Academic Editor: Tadaaki Satou

Copyright © 2016 Dongmei Duan 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.


Objective. The current study is designed to investigate the antidepressant efficacy of electroacupuncture (EA) treatment by evaluating its effect on the synthesis, metabolism, reuptake, and receptors of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), so as to clarify the molecular mechanisms of EA for antidepression. Materials and Methods. Solitary combined with the chronic unpredictable mild stress (CUMS) was used to establish the rat model with depression. The depressed rats were supplied with EA treatment for 4 weeks, and the behavior change and the following indices including 5-HT, 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA), monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A), tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH), 5-HT transporter (SERT), 5-HT1A, and 5-HT2A in hippocampus and prefrontal cortex were examined. Results. EA treatment significantly improved the behavior of rats and increased 5-HT level in hippocampus of depressed rats. Similarly, EA treatment could significantly increase protein and mRNA expression of TPH and 5-HT1A during 5-HT synthesis process in hippocampus of depressed rats. However, EA treatment had no effect on the activity of MAO-A and the expression of SERT protein and mRNA. Conclusion. Antidepressant efficacy of EA treatment can be accomplished through enhancing 5-HT synthesis, upregulating 5-HT1A level, and improving 5-HT content in brain and synaptic gaps.