Enhanced insulin sensitivity using electroacupuncture on bilateral Zusanli acupoints (ST 36) in rats

Life Sci. 2006 Aug 1;79(10):967-71. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2006.05.005. Epub 2006 May 17.


In this study, intravenous glucose tolerance test (ivGTT) and insulin challenge test (ICT) were applied to evaluate the influence of electroacupuncture (EA) on insulin sensitivity in rats. Firstly, hypoglycemic activity was confirmed on normal Wistar rats (36+/-12%) and streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats (13+/-8%) after 60 min of 15 Hz EA on bilateral Zusanli acupoints. The rats were divided into the experiment group (EG) and control group (CG) randomly. After fasting, plasma glucose and insulin levels were assayed in the normal Wistar rats undergoing ivGTT. Plasma glucose levels and hypoglycemic activity were also evaluated in the normal Wistar rats and STZ diabetic rats during ICT. As the data showed, EA improved the glucose tolerance from 15 to 90 min (p<0.005 compared with the plasma glucose levels of the CG) during ivGTT. In addition, significant improvement in the Homeostasis Model Assessment (HOMA) index was found in the EG from 15 to 90 min (p<0.005 compared with the CG). More hypoglycemic activity was achieved in normal Wistar and STZ diabetic rats in the EG than in the CG (from 30 to 60 min) during ICT. In conclusion, the results suggest that 15 Hz EA at bilateral Zusanli acupoints improved glucose tolerance. Thus, EA should be considered as an alternative method for improving insulin sensitivity and/or increase insulin-hypoglycemic activity in rats.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Points*
  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / analysis*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / chemically induced
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / therapy*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Electroacupuncture / methods*
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Insulin / blood*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Streptozocin


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Streptozocin