Medical Research

HRV and Auricular Acupuncture in Rats

Kristen Sparrow • April 03, 2012

This is another Litscher study, full text article for free here.  He has done a series of articles on HRV and acupuncture which we have discussed here, here, here, and here.  This one is the first to use animal data.  It’s a combined Chinese/Austrian study in that the studies are done in China and then the data transmitted to Austria and analysed.  At least that is my understanding of his work.  In this study, the decrease in LFR/HFR with stimulation at St36 was corroborated, albeit in rats.  An overall increase in HRV was found only in ear acupuncture. ( It is amazing to me that they could even distinguish various acupunpoints on a tiny rat ear, but that was the protocol.  They used the heart point, in case you’re interested.)  We discussed stimulation of Stomach 36 and its effect on autonomic balance here, and here

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:817378. Epub 2012 Feb 21.
Sino-European transcontinental basic and clinical high-tech acupuncture studies-part 1: auricular acupuncture increases heart rate variability in anesthetized rats.

Gao XY, Liu K, Zhu B, Litscher G.
Department of Physiology, Institute of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Dongzhimen Nanxiaojie Street, Beijing 100700, China.
Evidence-based research concerning the effects of high-tech acupuncture on autonomic function was performed by two research teams from China and Austria. This study describes the first transcontinental teleacupuncture measurements in animals. Heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV) recordings in 10 male Sprague-Dawley anesthetized rats were performed under stable conditions in Beijing, China, and the data analysis was completed in Graz, Austria. The electrocardiograms (ECGs) were recorded by an HRV Medilog AR12 system during acupuncture of the ear and body (PC6 Neiguan, CV12 Zhongwan, ST36 Zusanli). The data were analyzed using specially adapted novel Austrian software. HR did not change significantly during any acupuncture stimulation in anesthetized rats (ear acupuncture, PC6, CV12, or ST36). Total HRV only changed significantly (P = 0.025) during auricular acupuncture (acupoint heart). The low-frequency/high-frequency ratio parameter decreased significantly (P = 0.03) during stimulation of ST36. This change was based on intensification of the related mechanism of blood pressure regulation that has been demonstrated in previous studies in humans. Modernization of acupuncture research performed as a collaboration between China and Austria has also been demonstrated.