Unique immunomodulation by electro-acupuncture in humans possibly via stimulation of the autonomic nervous system.
Neurosci Lett. 2002; 320(1-2):21-4 (ISSN: 0304-3940)
Mori H; Nishijo K; Kawamura H; Abo T
Department of Acupuncture, Tsukuba College of Technology, Tsukuba 305-0821, Japan.
Cumulative evidence suggests that immunologic responses are under the regulation of the autonomic nervous system. Since acupuncture has recently been reported to modulate the autonomic nervous system, we investigated the possibility that acupuncture eventually modulates the immune system. In the present study, electro-acupuncture was applied in young volunteer subjects. As for the proportions of granulocytes and lymphocytes in the blood, there were three groups: (1) granulocytosis and lymphocytopenia; (2) granulocytopenia and lymphocytosis; and (3) normal pattern. Interestingly, with the administration of acupuncture, the status of subjects with relatively low levels of granulocytes and high levels of lymphocytes shifted to Group 1, whereas that of subjects with high levels of granulocytes and low levels of lymphocytes shifted to Group 2. In other words, acupuncture tended to normalize the pattern of leukocytes. We confirmed that acupuncture induced parasympathetic nerve stimulation, resulting in a decrease in the heart rate. These results suggest possible mechanisms underlying how acupuncture ameliorates the condition of patients with many chronic diseases.