Neurochemical Research

, Volume 33, Issue 10, pp 2166–2170 | Cite as

Electroacupuncture Reduces Voluntary Alcohol Intake in Alcohol-preferring Rats via an Opiate-sensitive Mechanism

  • David H. Overstreet
  • Cai-Lian Cui
  • Yao-Ying Ma
  • Chang-Yong Guo
  • Ji-Sheng Han
  • Scott E. Lukas
  • David Y.-W. Lee
Original Paper


Electroacupuncture (EA) has been shown to modify the effects of various drugs of abuse, including alcohol. Inbred P rats were trained to drink alcohol voluntarily and then subjected to two periods of alcohol deprivation lasting 3 days. During the second deprivation, the rats received either EA or sham EA. The rats were pretreated with naltrexone (5 mg/kg) or saline 30 min before each of the EA or sham EA sessions. Approximately 6 h after the last naltrexone or saline treatment, the alcohol tubes were returned and alcohol and water intakes were recorded later at 2, 4, 6, and 24 h. Only EA led to a decrease in alcohol intake, which was most prominent at 6 and 24 h, and this inhibitory effect of EA was blocked by naltrexone, suggesting that activation of the endogenous opiate system may be responsible for EA’s effects on alcohol intake in the alcohol-dependent iP rats.


Electroacupuncture iP rat Alcohol Naltrexone 



This study was funded jointly by NCCAM and NIAAA (P01-AT002038) through a Center of Excellence Program on “Alternative Therapies for Alcohol and Drug Abuse.” Additional Supports provided by NIDA Grant KO5 DA00343 (SEL), and by the National Basic Research Programme (2003-CB515407) of China.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • David H. Overstreet
    • 1
  • Cai-Lian Cui
    • 2
    • 3
  • Yao-Ying Ma
    • 2
  • Chang-Yong Guo
    • 2
  • Ji-Sheng Han
    • 2
    • 3
  • Scott E. Lukas
    • 4
  • David Y.-W. Lee
    • 2
  1. 1.Bowles Center for Alcohol StudiesUNC School of MedicineChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Bio-Organic and Natural Products Laboratory, Mailman Research Center 317McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical SchoolBelmontUSA
  3. 3.Neuroscience Research Institute and Department of NeurobiologyPeking University Health Science CenterBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.Behavioral Psychopharmacology Research LaboratoryMcLean Hospital/Harvard Medical SchoolBelmontUSA

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