Medical Research

Effects of acupuncture on stress-induced relapse to cocaine-seeking in rats.

Kristen Sparrow • April 29, 2012

I can’t evaluate the validity of this study, but wanted to cite it because they use the same point, Heart 7, as in this study, that looked at alcoholism in rats.  In the clinic there is a decline in alcohol consumption in patients that is quite pronounced.  The two studies look at different mechanisms for the craving and effect of acupuncture, but I wanted to draw attention to the similarity.

Effects of acupuncture on stress-induced relapse to cocaine-seeking in rats.
Yoon SS, Yang EJ, Lee BH, Jang EY, Kim HY, Choi SM, Steffensen SC, Yang CH.Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2012 Mar 29.
College of Oriental Medicine, Daegu Haany University, 165 Sang-Dong, Suseong-Gu, Daegu, 706-828, South Korea.
Cocaine addiction is associated with high rates of relapse, and stress has been identified as a major risk factor. We have previously demonstrated that acupuncture reduces drug self-administration and dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens (NAc), a brain structure implicated in stress-induced reinstatement of drug-seeking behavior.
This study was conducted to investigate the effects of acupuncture on footshock-induced reinstatement of cocaine-seeking and the expression of c-Fos and the transcription factor cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) in the NAc, used as markers of neuronal activation in conditions of stress-induced reinstatement to cocaine.
Male Sprague-Dawley rats were trained to self-administer cocaine (1.0 mg/kg) for 14 days, followed by extinction and then footshock stress. Acupuncture was applied at bilateral Shenmen (HT7) points for 1 min after footshock stress.
Acute footshock stress reinstated cocaine-seeking behavior and enhanced c-Fos expression and phosphorylated CREB (pCREB) activation in the NAc shell in cocaine pre-exposed rats. On the other hand, acupuncture at HT7, but not at control point (LI5), markedly reduced reinstatement of cocaine-seeking (86.5 % inhibition vs. control value), c-Fos expression (81.7% inhibition), and pCREB activation (79.3% inhibition) in the NAc shell. These results suggest that acupuncture attenuates stress-induced relapse by regulating neuronal activation in the NAc shell.