Electroacupuncture suppresses expression of gastric ghrelin and hypothalamic NPY in chronic food restricted rats

Peptides. 2006 Sep;27(9):2313-20. doi: 10.1016/j.peptides.2006.03.010. Epub 2006 Apr 27.


Electroacupuncture (EA) has been reported to reduce body weight in overweight subjects in clinical practice, as well as in rats and mice with diet-induced obesity. In the present study, this effect of EA was tested in lean rats subjected to long-term food restriction (FR, food was offered only 1 h/day). Two hertz EA administered once every other day produced a further reduction in body weight in FR rats. Exploration of the mechanism involved revealed significant downregulation of the orexigenic peptides: ghrelin in the stomach, and neuropeptide Y (NPY) but not Agouti-related peptide (AgRP) in the hypothalamus, which was in line with the reduction in food intake in rats receiving EA stimulation as compared with those receiving restraint only. Uncoupling protein 3 (UCP3), involved in accelerating energy expenditure, was not significantly altered. These results suggest that the EA-induced body weight reduction was due mainly to a decrease in food intake rather than an increase in energy expenditure. A reduction in the orexigenic peptides ghrelin and NPY may be involved in the underlying mechanism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agouti-Related Protein
  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Eating / physiology
  • Electroacupuncture*
  • Food Deprivation
  • Gastric Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Ghrelin
  • Hypothalamus / cytology
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism
  • Ion Channels / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / cytology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Neuropeptide Y / metabolism*
  • Peptide Hormones / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Stomach / cytology
  • Triglycerides / analysis
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Uncoupling Protein 3


  • Agouti-Related Protein
  • Blood Glucose
  • Ghrelin
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Ion Channels
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Neuropeptide Y
  • Peptide Hormones
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Triglycerides
  • Ucp3 protein, mouse
  • Ucp3 protein, rat
  • Uncoupling Protein 3