The effects of acupuncture stimulation at PC6 (Neiguan) on chronic mild stress-induced biochemical and behavioral responses

Neurosci Lett. 2009 Aug 21;460(1):56-60. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2009.05.008. Epub 2009 May 7.


In the present study, the effects of acupuncture on the behavioral and physiological responses induced by chronic mild stress (CMS) were evaluated. Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to a variety of chronic unpredictable, mild stressors for 8 weeks. The effects of acupuncture on stress-induced anxiety and anhedonia were investigated using the elevated plus maze (EPM) and sucrose intake test. In addition, c-fos expression, as an early neuronal marker in the brain was also examined utilizing Fos-like immunohistochemistry (FLI). CMS rats significantly reduced the consumption of sucrose intake and latency in the open arms of the EPM, and gained body weight more slowly, compared to non-stressed normal rats. Exposure to CMS also significantly increased FLI in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus. Acupuncture stimulation at point PC6 on the pericardium channels (3 min), but not at other point (TE5), restored stress-induced decrease in the latency in the open arms and significantly attenuated FLI in the PVN produced by CMS. Acupuncture stimulation also tended to restore stress-induced decrease in the sucrose intake. The present results demonstrated that acupuncture was effective in restoring CMS-related biochemical and behavioral impairments such as anxiety and anhedonia and that acupuncture point was more effective than non-acupuncture point. These results suggest that acupuncture has a therapeutic effect on chronic stress-related diseases such as depression and anxiety.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture / methods*
  • Acupuncture Points
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Body Weight
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Food Preferences / physiology
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Paraventricular Hypothalamic Nucleus / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Stress, Psychological / metabolism*
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology*
  • Swimming


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos