Acupuncture-Induced Activation of Endogenous Opioid System

  • Guoqiang Wen
  • Yilin Yang
  • Yang Lu
  • Ying XiaEmail author


It has been accepted that acupuncture at certain points on the body induces analgesia/anesthesia and therapeutic effects on certain diseases. The mechanistic research demonstrates that acupuncture effects are mediated by the central neurotransmitters. Among them, the endogenous opioid peptides (EOP) play an important role in acupuncture effects. In general, acupuncture activates the EOP system by influencing the release and synthesis of EOP, and regulating the function and expression of their corresponding receptors. Although previous data were mostly obtained from the studies on acupuncture analgesia and anesthesia, it is very likely that acupuncture-induced activation of the EOP system may induce multiple effects on the body, as EOP system broadly participates in the physiological function and pathophysiologic process.


enkephalin β-endorphin dynorphin release opioid receptors 


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Copyright information

© Tsinghua University Press, Beijing and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Yale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Third Medical College of Soochow UniversityChangzhou, JiangsuP.R. China
  3. 3.Shanghai Research Center for Acupuncture and MeridiansShanghaiP.R. China

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