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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 9651592, 7 pages
Research Article

Acupuncture Alters Expression of Insulin Signaling Related Molecules and Improves Insulin Resistance in OLETF Rats

1Clinical Medical College of Acupuncture and Rehabilitation, Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, China
2Guangdong Provincial Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, China
3Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, China

Received 31 March 2016; Accepted 27 June 2016

Academic Editor: Giuseppe Caminiti

Copyright © 2016 Xin-Yu Huang 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.


To determine effect of acupuncture on insulin resistance in Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima Fatty (OLETF) rats and to evaluate expression of insulin signaling components. Rats were divided into three groups: Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats, OLETF rats, and acupuncture+OLETF rats. Acupuncture was subcutaneously applied to Neiguan (PC6), Zusanli (ST36), and Sanyinjiao (SP6); in contrast, acupuncture to Shenshu (BL23) was administered perpendicularly. For Neiguan (PC6) and Zusanli (ST36), needles were connected to an electroacupuncture (EA) apparatus. Fasting blood glucose (FPG) was measured by glucose oxidase method. Plasma fasting insulin (FINS) and serum C peptide (C-P) were determined by ELISA. Protein and mRNA expressions of insulin signaling molecules were determined by Western blot and real-time RT-PCR, respectively. OLETF rats exhibit increased levels of FPG, FINS, C-P, and homeostasis model assessment-estimated insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), which were effectively decreased by acupuncture treatment. mRNA expressions of several insulin signaling related molecules IRS1, IRS2, Akt2, aPKCζ, and GLUT4 were decreased in OLETF rats compared to SD controls. Expression of these molecules was restored back to normal levels upon acupuncture administration. PI3K-p85α was increased in OLETF rats; this increase was also reversed by acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture improves insulin resistance in OLETF rats, possibly via regulating expression of key insulin signaling related molecules.