Different releasing effects of traditional manual acupuncture and electro-acupuncture on proopiocortin-related peptides

G. Nappi, F. Facchinetti, G. Legnante, D. Parrini, F. Petraglia, F. Savoldi, A. R. Genazzani

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There is general agreement on the fact that Electroacupuncture (EAP) induced analgesia is mediated by endorphins, while the effective mechanisms of Traditional Manual Acupuncture (TMA), which is employed for multiple therapeutic purposes (not only analgesia) and is performed in a different manner from EAP, are still poorly understood. In order to clarify these effective mechanisms, we measured β-lipotropin (βLPH), β-endorphin (βEP) and ACTH plasma level alterations in response to EAP, TMA and Sham EAP (SEAP) (needles in the same points as EAP, but without any stimulation) in three groups of 6 healthy volunteers. Blood samples were taken in basal conditions and 1, 5, 20 and 60 minutes after withdrawal of the needles. In the group treated with SEAP, although random fluctuations were present, no statistically significant changes were found in the plasma concentrations of the three peptide plasma levels between 5 and 20 minutes after withdrawal of the needles. βLPH concentrations were still increased at the end of the observation period. After TMA, a significant increase was observed in both βLPH and βEP plasma levels after 5 minutes, after which the concentrations decreased to basal values. ACTH plasma levels did not present any changes in response to this stimulation. These data indicate that EAP induces the simultaneous release of βLPH, βEP and ACTH, as occurs in all situations which stimulate proopiocortin breakdown by the Anterior Pituitary, while TMA induces changes in proopiocortin-related peptides which are qualitatively different and quantitatively smaller, of shorter duration and probably of a different origin from those observed after EAP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-103
Number of pages11
JournalAcupuncture and Electro-Therapeutics Research
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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