Effects of electroacupuncture stimulation at different spinal segmental levels in a rat model of diabetes mellitus

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BackgroundDiabetes mellitus (DM) is associated with high morbidity, mortality and economic cost. Studies have shown that acupuncture can improve many symptoms of DM.ObjectivesTo examine for differences in effects of electroacupuncture (EA) stimulation at Weiwanxiashu, BL15 and BL23 in the streptozotocin (STZ)-induced DM rat model, to help guide clinical selection of acupuncture points.Methods90 male rats weighing 160±5 g were used. 12 rats were control fed (Normal group) and 78 were fed a high-fat high-sugar diet for 8 weeks and underwent intraperitoneal STZ injection to model DM. 60 animals that met modelling criteria were randomly divided into an untreated DM group and four groups receiving EA at Weiwanxiashu (DM+WWX group), BL15 (DM+BL15 group), BL23 (DM+BL23 group) or a non-traditional acupuncture point on the tail (DM+Tail group). Fasting blood glucose, total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TG), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and insulin levels were determined and an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) performed.ResultsEA at Weiwanxiashu had a glucose-lowering effect on the 21st and 28th days, decreased TC, TG and LDL-C levels, increase insulin levels and improved glucose tolerance. EA at BL15 had a glucose-lowering effect on the7th, 14th and 21st days of intervention but did not impact lipids, insulin or OGTT parameters. EA at BL23 or on the tail had no significant effects.ConclusionEA at Weiwanxiashu and BL15 had differential effects on metabolic markers in the STZ-induced rat model of DM. These effects may be explained neuroanatomically by variations in the segmental innervation of the tissues at these locations.

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