Objective: To observe the effect of soothing-liver and nourishing-heart acupuncture on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRIs) treatment effect onset in patients with depressive disorder and related indicators of neuroimmunology.
Methods: Overall, 126 patients with depressive disorder were randomly divided into a medicine and acupuncture-medicine group using a random number table. Patients were treated for 6 consecutive weeks. The two groups were evaluated by the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) and Side Effects Rating Scale (SERS) to assess the effect of the soothing-liver and nourishing-heart acupuncture method on early onset of SSRI treatment effect. Changes in serum 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) and inflammatory cytokines before and after treatment were recorded and compared between the medicine group and the acupuncture-medicine group.
Results: The acupuncture-medicine group had significantly lower MADRS scores at weeks 1, 2, 4, and 6 after treatment compared with the medicine group (P < 0.01). The acupuncture group had significantly lower SERS scores at weeks 1, 2, 4, and 6 after treatment compared with the medicine group (P < 0.01). At 6 weeks after treatment, serum 5-HT in the acupuncture-medicine group was significantly higher compared with the medicine group (P < 0.01). Interleukin-6 (IL-6) in the acupuncture-medicine group was significantly lower than that in the medicine group (P < 0.01), whereas there was no significant difference in IL-1β between the groups (P > 0.05). Anti-inflammatory cytokines IL-4 and IL-10 were significantly higher in the acupuncture-medicine group compared with the medicine group (P < 0.01, P < 0.05, respectively).
Conclusion: The soothing-liver and nourishing-heart acupuncture method can effectively accelerate the onset of SSRI effects when treating depressive disorder and can significantly reduce the adverse reactions of SSRIs. Moreover, acupuncture can enhance serum 5-HT and regulate the balance of pro-inflammatory cytokines and anti-inflammatory cytokines.