Experimental physiology

Acupuncture does not ameliorate metabolic disturbances in the P450 aromatase inhibitor-induced rat model of polycystic ovary syndrome.

PMID 27790765


What is the central question of this study? The effectiveness of low-frequency electroacupuncture in the treatment of metabolic disorders associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), an endocrine-metabolic disorder characterized by an imbalance in sex steroid production, is controversial. What is the main finding and its importance? In a rat model of PCOS induced by the inhibition of P450 aromatase, low-frequency electroacupuncture increased low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol but did not improve the insulin resistance or the adipose tissue dysfunction, suggesting that a balance of sex steroids is needed to restore the metabolic function in this rat model of PCOS. Low-frequency electroacupuncture restores sex steroid synthesis and sympathetic activity in women with polycystic ovary syndrome, which may ameliorate its metabolic disturbances, probably by modulating sympathetic nerve activity or sex steroid synthesis. We investigated whether low-frequency electroacupuncture regulates the metabolic function to the same extent as treatment with estradiol or β-adrenergic blocking in a rat model of polycystic ovary syndrome induced by a P450 aromatase inhibitor (letrozole). Letrozole (200xa0μgxa0day(-1) ) or placebo pellets were implanted in prepubertal Wistar rats. Six weeks thereafter, rats were treated for 5-6xa0weeks with the following: low-frequency electroacupuncture (5xa0days per week); a β-adrenergic blocker (propranolol hydrochloride, 0.1xa0mgxa0kg(-1) , 5xa0days per week); or 17β-estradiol (2.0xa0μg) every fourth day. Body weight development, body composition, locomotor activity, insulin sensitivity, tissue-specific glucose uptake, lipid profile, adipocyte size, serum concentrations of adiponectin and insulin, and gene expression in inguinal fat were measured. All treatments increased circulating levels of low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol. Estradiol treatment restored locomotor activity and increased insulin sensitivity but did not modify the glucose uptake in muscle and fat. An upregulation of genes related to insulin sensitivity and downregulation of genes related to adipogenesis were observed in subcutaneous adipose tissue from rats exposed to letrozole. Only estradiol treatment normalized the expression of these genes. In conclusion, low-frequency electroacupuncture increased low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol without affecting insulin sensitivity or adipose tissue function, which could suggest effects on hepatic lipid regulation, probably mediated by the action of estradiol or the β-adrenergic pathway.