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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 5642708, 11 pages
Research Article

Effects of Electroacupuncture on Methamphetamine-Induced Behavioral Changes in Mice

1Center for Drug Abuse and Addiction, China Medical University Hospital, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
2School of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
3Division of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University Beigang Hospital, Yunlin County, Taiwan
4Division of Chinese Medicine, An Nan Hospital, China Medical University, Tainan, Taiwan
5Division of Basic Medical Sciences, Department of Nursing, Chang Gung Institute of Technology and Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion Research Center, Chiayi, Taiwan
6Research Center for Industry of Human Ecology, Chang Gung University of Science and Technology, Kweishan, Taoyuan, Taiwan
7Research Center for Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
8Graduate Institute of Biomedical Sciences and Ph.D. Program for Aging, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
9Department of Psychiatry, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan
10Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology and Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Yunlin, Taiwan

Correspondence should be addressed to Chieh-Liang Huang and Yao-Chang Chiang

Received 27 July 2016; Revised 25 October 2016; Accepted 2 November 2016; Published 16 March 2017

Academic Editor: Hyunsu Bae

Copyright © 2017 Tsung-Jung Ho 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.


Methamphetamine (METH) is a major drug of abuse worldwide, and no efficient therapeutic strategies for treating METH addiction are currently available. Continuous METH use can cause behavioral upregulation or psychosis. The dopaminergic pathways, particularly the neural circuitry from the ventral tegmental area to the nucleus accumbens (NAc), have a critical role in this behavioral stage. Acupuncture has been used for treating diseases in China for more than 2000 years. According to a World Health Organization report, acupuncture can be used to treat several functional disorders, including substance abuse. In addition, acupuncture is effective against opioids addiction. In this study, we used electroacupuncture (EA) for treating METH-induced behavioral changes and investigated the possible therapeutic mechanism. Results showed that EA at the unilateral Zhubin (KI9)–Taichong (LR3) significantly reduced METH-induced behavioral sensitization and conditioned place preference. In addition, both dopamine and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) levels decreased but monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) levels increased in the NAc of the METH-treated mice receiving EA compared with those not receiving EA. EA may be a useful nonpharmacological approach for treating METH-induced behavioral changes, probably because it reduces the METH-induced TH expression and dopamine levels and raises MAO-A expression in the NAc.