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Effects and mechanisms of acupuncture and moxibustion on reproductive endocrine function in male rats with partial androgen deficiency
  1. Yi Ren1,
  2. Xiaoguang Yang1,
  3. Yu Zhang2,3,
  4. Ying Wang1,
  5. Xuezhi Li1
  1. 1College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, China
  2. 2State Key Laboratory of Ultrasound Engineering in Medicine Co-Founded by Chongqing and the Ministry of Science and Technology
  3. 3Chongqing Key Laboratory of Biomedical Engineering, College of Biomedical Engineering, Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, China
  1. Correspondence to Professor Xuezhi Li, Chongqing Medical University, No. 1 Yixueyuan Road, Yuzhong District, Chongqing 400016, China; lixz999{at}126.com

Abstract

Objectives Partial androgen deficiency of the aging male (PADAM) is characterised by a deficiency in serum androgen levels. Both electroacupuncture (EA) and mild moxibustion (MM) can raise serum testosterone levels in PADAM. We investigated the mechanisms underlying the use of EA and MM in a rodent model of PADAM.

Methods Fifty rats received cyclophosphamide injection over 5 consecutive days to induce PADAM, which was verified by comparing total testosterone (TT) and free testosterone (FT) levels with 10 non-PADAM healthy control rats (CON). Successful modelling was confirmed in 43 of 50 rats, 40 of which were randomly divided into untreated (PADAM), EA-treated (PADAM+EA), MM-treated (PADAM+MM), and androlin (AD)-treated (PADAM+AD) groups (n=10 each). EA and MM were administered at BL23 and CV4 acupuncture points for 8 weeks, and no treatment was given to rats in the PADAM and CON groups. Serum levels of luteinising hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), mRNA expression of cytochrome P450c17 (P450c17) and 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 1 (3β-HSD1), and protein levels of cytochrome P450 side chain cleavage (P450scc), 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 3 (17β-HSD3) and steroidogenic factor 1 (SF-1) were evaluated after 8 weeks.

Results Both EA and mild MM significantly increased serum TT and FT levels with MM displaying superiority. P450scc, 17β-HSD3 and SF-1 protein expression, and P450c17 and 3β-HSD1 mRNA expression, were significantly increased and serum LH and FSH levels were significantly decreased in PADAM+EA and PADAM+MM relative to PADAM rats. Moreover, serum LH and FSH levels were significantly lower and 17β-HSD3 protein expression significantly higher in PADAM+MM relative to PADAM+EA rats.

Conclusions EA and MM at the BL23 and CV4 acupuncture points appear to be effective treatments for PADAM, and MM displays superior efficacy to EA.

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