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R.R. Socci, H. Mao, D.E. Potter, T. Chu; Acupuncture-induced Ocular Hypotension . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2003;44(13):4391.
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Purpose: To investigate the potential mechanisms of acupuncture-induced ocular hypotension. Methods: Stimulation by low-frequency acupuncture or electroacupuncture (EA) was performed through acupuncture needles applied to the Zusanli (ST36), Guangming (GB37) and/or Huantiao (GB30) acupuncture points in humans, rabbits and rats. Results: In rabbits, after EA stimulation of GB30, IOP was decreased bilaterally to a maximum of 9 mm Hg. In addition, aqueous humor dynamics were altered: the aqueous humor flow rate was reduced and outflow facility was increased. The aqueous humor levels of brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) were increased after EA. In humans, low-frequency acupuncture stimulation to the ST36 and GB37 resulted in activation of blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) activities in the brain. In rats, mRNAs of endorphins and enkephalins were expressed in the brainstem, retina and ciliary body. After EA, expression of these mRNAs was enhanced in the brainstem and retina, but not ciliary body. Conclusions: EA-induced ocular hypotension was a product of suppressed aqueous humor flow and increased outflow facility and aqueous BNP levels. Increases in BOLD activities in the brain suggest the involvement of a central nervous pathway for the acupuncture-induced bilateral ocular hypotension. Enhancement of gene expression indicates that endorphin/enkephalin may play a role in the effects of acupuncture and EA.
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