Electroacupuncture enhances extragonadal aromatization in ovariectomized rats

Hong Zhao, Zhanzhuang Tian, Lina Cheng, Boying Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Background. Repeated electroacupuncture (EA) stimulation is known to stimulate the activity of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis, and to enhance the circulation level of estrogen in the ovariectomized rats. To explore the source of the increased circulation estrogen, the extragonadal aromatization was detected. Methods. Female rats were divided into five groups: 1) intact (INT), 2) intact with EA in specific points (INT+EA), 3) ovariectomized (OVX), 4) ovariectomized with EA in specific points (OVX+EA) and 5) ovariectomized with EA in non-specific points (OVX+C). Radiometric assay, Western blot and RT-PCR were adopted to determine the extragonadal aromatization in subcutaneous abdominal (SA) adipose and liver tissues of rats. The blood concentrations of estrogen, testosterone and corticosterone were measured by radioimmunoassay. Results. The aromatase activities of the SA adipose and liver tissues in the OVX+EA rats increased significantly (p < 0.01) compared with those in the INT, INT+EA and OVX rats. The 58-kDa aromatase protein and aromatase mRNA expressions normalized to β-actin in the OVX+EA rats' SA adipose tissues showed higher levels than those from corresponding tissues in the INT and INT+EA rats (p < 0.05). And the ratios of aromatase mRNA and protein to β-actin in the OVX+EA rats' liver tissues increased significantly compared with those in the OVX rats (p < 0.05). Furthermore, blood estrogen and corticosterone concentrations showed significant increase in the OVX+EA rats compared with the concentrations in the OVX and OVX+C rats (p < 0.05), but no statistical disparity occurred on the blood testosterone concentrations between the OVX+EA rats and the OVX ones. Conclusion. Both the subcutaneous abdominal adipose and the liver tissues contributed to the effects of electroacupuncture on the extragonadal aromatization to promote the blood concentrations of estrogen in the ovariectomized rats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number18
JournalReproductive Biology and Endocrinology
StatePublished - Apr 27 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Endocrinology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Developmental Biology


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