Electroacupuncture in the Treatment of Obesity

Abstract

Obesity is becoming one of the most common health problems in the world. Many other disorders, such as hypertension and diabetes are considered as the consequences of obesity. Since effective remedies are rare (only two drugs, Orlistat and Sibutramine, were officially approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for long-term obesity treatment so far), researchers are trying to discover new therapies for obesity, and acupuncture is among the most popular alternative approaches. To facilitate weight reduction, one can use manual acupuncture, electroacupuncture (EA) or transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation (TEAS). As the parameters of the EA or TEAS can be precisely characterized and the results are more or less reproducible, this review will focus on EA as a treatment modality for obesity. Results obtained in this laboratory in recent five years will be summarized in some detail.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. 1.

    Richards D, Marley J (1998) Stimulation of auricular acupuncture points in weight loss. Aust Fam Physician 27:S73–S77

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Cabioglu MT, Ergene N (2005) Electroacupuncture therapy for weight loss reduces serum total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol levels in obese women. Am J Chin Med 33:525–533. doi:10.1142/S0192415X05003132

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Lacey JM, Tershakovec AM, Foster GD (2003) Acupuncture for the treatment of obesity: a review of the evidence. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 27:419–427. doi:10.1038/sj.ijo.0802254

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Allison DB, Kreibich K, Heshka S, Heymsfield SB (1995) A randomised placebo-controlled clinical trial of an acupressure device for weight loss. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 19:653–658

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Mazzoni R, Mannucci E, Rizzello SM et al (1999) Failure of acupuncture in the treatment of obesity: a pilot study. Eat Weight Disord 4:198–202

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Tian DR, Li XD, Wang F et al (2005) Up-regulation of the expression of cocaine and amphetamine-regulated transcript peptide by electroacupuncture in the arcuate nucleus of diet-induced obese rats. Neurosci Lett 383:17–21. doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2005.03.039

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Dung HC (1986) Attempts to reduce body weight through auricular acupuncture. Am J Acupunct 14:117–122

    Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Soong YS (1975) The treatment of exogenous obesity employing auricular acupuncture. Am J Chin Med 3:285–287. doi:10.1142/S0192415X75000311

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Wang F, Tian DR, Shi YS et al (2007) Electroacupuncture modulates bodyweight in various energy status by differential regulation of neuropeptide expression in hypothalamus of the rat. The First Chinese International Bioactive Neuropeptide Conference, Beijing

  10. 10.

    Liu Q, Yu J, Mi WL (2007) Electroacupuncture attenuates the decrease of hippocampal progenitor cell proliferation in the adult rats exposed to chronic unpredictable stress. Life Sci 81:1489–1495. doi:10.1016/j.lfs.2007.08.033

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Van der Watt G , Laugharne J, Janca A et al (2008) Complementary and alternative medicine in the treatment of anxiety and depression. Curr Opin Psychiatry 21:37–42

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Niswender KD, Schwartz MW (2003) Insulin and leptin revisited: adiposity signals with overlapping physiological and intracellular signaling capabilities. Front Neuroendocrinol 24:1–10. doi:10.1016/S0091-3022(02)00105-X

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Cowley MA, Smart JL, Rubinstein M et al (2001) Leptin activates anorexigenic POMC neurons through a neural network in the arcuate nucleus. Nature 411:480–484. doi:10.1038/35078085

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Liu H, Kishi T, Roseberry AG et al (2003) Transgenic mice expressing green fluorescent protein under the control of the melanocortin-4 receptor promoter. J Neurosci 23:7143–7154

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Guo HF, Tian J, Wang X et al (1996) Brain substrates activated by electroacupuncture of different frequencies (I): comparative study on the expression of oncogene c-fos and genes coding for three opioid peptides. Brain Res Mol Brain Res 43:157–166. doi:10.1016/S0169-328X(96)00170-2

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Lin S, Storlien LH, Huang XF (2000) Leptin receptor, NPY, POMC mRNA expression in the diet-induced obese mouse brain. Brain Res 875:89–95. doi:10.1016/S0006-8993(00)02580-4

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Tian DR, Li XD, Shi YS et al (2004) Changes of hypothalamic alpha-MSH and CART peptide expression in diet-induced obese rats. Peptides 25:2147–2153. doi:10.1016/j.peptides.2004.08.009

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Tian DR, Li XD, Niu DB et al (2003) Electroacupuncture up-regulated arcuate nucleus α-MSH expression in the rat of diet-induced obesity. J. PekingUniv (Health Sci) 35:458–461

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Tian N, Wang F, Tian DR et al (2006) Electroacupuncture suppresses expression of gastric ghrelin and hypothalamic NPY in chronic food restricted rats. Peptides 27:2313–2320. doi:10.1016/j.peptides.2006.03.010

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Shiraishi T, Onoe M, Kojima T et al (1995) Effects of auricular stimulation on feeding-related hypothalamic neuronal activity in normal and obese rats. Brain Res Bull 36:141–148. doi:10.1016/0361-9230(94)00179-5

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Zhao M, Liu Z, Su J (2000) The time–effect relationship of central action in acupuncture treatment for weight reduction. J Tradit Chin Med 20:26–29

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Li HY, Hwang HW, Hu YH (2002) Functional characterizations of cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript mRNA expression in rat hypothalamus. Neurosci Lett 323:203–206. doi:10.1016/S0304-3940(02)00151-9

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    James WP, Davies HL, Bailes J et al (1978) Elevated metabolic rates in obesity. Lancet 1:1122–1125. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(78)90300-8

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Prentice AM, Black AE, Coward WA et al (1986) High levels of energy expenditure in obese women. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 29:2983–2987

    Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Weinsier RL, Nelson KM, Hensrud DD et al (1995) Metabolic predictors of obesity. Contribution of resting energy expenditure, thermic effect of food, and fuel utilization to four-year weight gain of post-obese and never-obese women. J Clin Invest 95:980–985. doi:10.1172/JCI117807

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Costford SR, Seifert EL, Bezaire V et al (2007) The energetic implications of uncoupling protein-3 in skeletal muscle. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 32:884–894. doi:10.1139/H07-063

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Tiraby C, Tavernier G, Capel F et al (2007) Resistance to high-fat-diet-induced obesity and sexual dimorphism in the metabolic responses of transgenic mice with moderate uncoupling protein 3 overexpression in glycolytic skeletal muscles. Diabetologia 50:2190–2199. doi:10.1007/s00125-007-0765-2

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Yoon Y, Park BL, Cha MH et al (2007) Effects of genetic polymorphisms of UCP2 and UCP3 on very low calorie diet-induced body fat reduction in Korean female subjects. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 359:451–456. doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2007.05.110

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Choi CS, Fillmore JJ, Kim JK et al (2007) Overexpression of uncoupling protein 3 in skeletal muscle protects against fat-induced insulin resistance. J Clin Invest 117:1995–2003. doi:10.1172/JCI13579

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    Schrauwen P, Xia J, Bogardus C et al (1999) Skeletal muscle uncoupling protein 3 expression is a determinant of energy expenditure in Pima Indians. Diabetes 48:146–149. doi:10.2337/diabetes.48.1.146

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  31. 31.

    McGee SL, Hargreaves M (2008) AMPK and transcriptional regulation. Front Biosci 13:3022–3033. doi:10.2741/2907

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  32. 32.

    Suwa M, Nakano H, Kumagai S (2003) Effects of chronic AICAR treatment on fiber composition, enzyme activity, UCP3, and PGC-1 in rat muscles. J Appl Physiol 95:960–968

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  33. 33.

    Jorgensen SB, Wojtaszewski JF, Viollet B et al (2005) Effects of alpha-AMPK knockout on exercise-induced gene activation in mouse skeletal muscle. FASEB J 19:1146–1148

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  34. 34.

    Liu ZC et al (1997) Clinical observation on acupuncture treatment of simple obesity. J Tradit Chin Med 38:155–157

    Google Scholar 

  35. 35.

    Sun Q, Xu Y (1993) Simple obesity and obesity hyperlipemia treated with otoacupoint pellet pressure and body acupuncture. J Tradit Chin Med 13:22–26

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  36. 36.

    Masayasu K, Kenji K (2005) Ghrelin: structure and function. Physiol Rev 85:495–522. doi:10.1152/physrev.00012.2004

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  37. 37.

    Mark LH, Derrick RW (2006) Ghrelin in obesity. Metab Syndr Relat Disord 4:37–42. doi:10.1089/met.2006.4.37

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. 38.

    Perreault M, Istrate N, Wang L, Nichols AJ, Tozzo E, Stricker-Krongrad A et al (2004) Resistance to the orexigenic effect of ghrelin in dietary-induced obesity in mice: reversal upon weight loss. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 28:879–885. doi:10.1038/sj.ijo.0802640

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  39. 39.

    Kim SK, Lee G, Shin M et al (2006) The association of serum leptin with the reduction of food intake and body weight during electroacupuncture in rats. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 83:145–149. doi:10.1016/j.pbb.2006.01.002

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  40. 40.

    You JS, Hung CC (2005) Effect of electroacupuncture on plasma of leptin and insulin in diet-induced obese rats. J Chin Med 16:101–109

    Google Scholar 

  41. 41.

    Tian DR, Li XD, Shi YS et al (2003) Study on the effect of transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation on obesity. J PekingUniv (Health Sci) 35:277–279

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Fei Wang.

Additional information

Special issue article in honor of Dr. Ji-Sheng Han.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Wang, F., Tian, DR. & Han, JS. Electroacupuncture in the Treatment of Obesity. Neurochem Res 33, 2023 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11064-008-9822-6

Download citation

Keywords

  • Electroacupuncture
  • Obesity