Juntendo Medical Journal
Online ISSN : 2188-2126
Print ISSN : 2187-9737
ISSN-L : 2187-9737
Original Articles
Reduction of Freezing Behavior by Acupuncture Stimulation at HT7 in Contextual Fear-Conditioned Mice
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2019 Volume 65 Issue 6 Pages 554-560


Objective: Acupuncture at acupoint Shenmen (HT7) is used for the treatment of neuropsychological disorders, such as anxiety disorders, in oriental medicine. In the present study, to elucidate the influence of HT7-acupuncture on the reduction of fear memory, we examined freezing responses in contextual fear-conditioned mice with or without acupuncture treatment at HT7.

Materials and Methods: Adult male C57BL/6J mice were subjected to electric foot-shock, which represents a common animal model of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), in a foot-shock cage. The mice were then immediately returned to their home cages and randomly divided into two groups, an HT7 and a sham groups. In the HT7 group, 30 seconds of bilateral acupuncture at HT7 was applied for 7 consecutive days. We then placed the mice from both groups either in their home cages or in the foot-shock cage and observed their freezing behavior for 2 minutes.

Results: In the home cage, HT7 and sham mice displayed almost no freezing responses. In the foot-shock cage, in contrast, the sham group showed freezing responses for 51.3±16.7% in 2 minutes, indicating that in these mice, fear memory was strongly maintained even after 1 week. Surprisingly, the freezing responses of the HT7 group mice in the foot-shock cage were significantly lower, at 25.7±14.9% in 2 minutes.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that acupuncture treatment at HT7 might be effective in reducing fear memories in PTSD.

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© 2018 The Juntendo Medical Society. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original source is properly credited.

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