Effects of acupuncture at Sanyinjiao (SP6) on prostaglandin levels in primary dysmenorrhea patients

Clin J Pain. 2011 Mar-Apr;27(3):258-61. doi: 10.1097/AJP.0b013e3181fb27ae.


Objective: To explore the physiologic mechanism of immediate analgesic effect of acupuncture in primary dysmenorrhea patients.

Methods: Forty primary dysmenorrhea patients were randomized into the Sanyinjiao (SP6) acupuncture group, Xuanzhong (GB39) control group, nonacupoint control group, or no acupuncture group. Patients in the 3 acupuncture groups were treated with electroacupuncture at assigned points lasting 30 minutes, whereas patients in no acupuncture group did not receive any acupuncture intervention. Before and after acupuncture, visual analogue scale (VAS) scores were recorded and blood samples were taken for the measurement of the plasma levels of 4 principal prostaglandins (PGE(2), PGF(2a), TXB(2), and 6-keto PGF(1a)).

Results: The VAS scores for pain intensity significant decreased in patients who received acupuncture compared with those had no acupuncture intervention. However, there were no significant differences among patients in the 3 acupuncture groups after acupuncture. In addition, no statistically significant differences were observed in the plasma PGE(2), PGF(2a), TXB(2), or 6-keto PGF(1a) levels and the ratios of PGF(2a)/PGE(2), and TXB(2)/6-keto PGF(1a) after acupuncture at SP6.

Conclusions: The immediate analgesic effect of SP6 might not be mediated by changes in the prostaglandin levels.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Analgesia / methods*
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Dysmenorrhea / blood*
  • Dysmenorrhea / diagnosis
  • Dysmenorrhea / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Prostaglandins / blood*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers
  • Prostaglandins