Mechanism of the Inhibitory Effect of Electroacupuncture on Experimental Arrhythmias


Clinical observations reported that acupuncture can alleviate several kinds of arrhythmias. To explore its efficacy and mechanism, we have studied the electroacupuncture (EA) inhibition on experimental arrhythmias in rabbits since 1980s and analyzed its mechanism. These studies were mostly conducted in the Department of Physiology, Shanghai Medical University; recently the mechanism of acupuncture’s effect on arrhythmias was analyzed in the School of Medicine, University of California, Irvine, which involves the following: (1)the inhibitory effect of EA on ventricular extrasystoles can be induced by hypothalamic defense area stimulation: a low-current and low-frequency stimulation of the median nerve underneath acupoints P 5 or deep peroneal nerve underneath S 36 can activate arcuate nucleus–ventral periaqueductal gray –nuclei raphe pathway and release endorphin, enkephaline, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), etc., thus inhibiting the rostral ventrolateral medulla (rVLM), decreasing sympathetic outflow, and alleviating ventricular extrasystoles; (2) the bradycardia induced by stimulation of aortic depressor nerve can be blocked by stimulation of superficial radial nerve (underneath LI 6–7) or superficial peroneal nerve (underneath G37–39): these stimulations activate the rVLM release opioids and GABA to inhibit nucleus tractus solitarius and vagal nuclei, and block vagal bradycardia. These experimental data explore the mechanism of acupuncture’s effect on arrhythmias and are useful for clinical application.

Original paper submitted by Peng Li and stephanie C. Tjen-A-Looi for

the Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies. To read the original article, click here.



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