Acupuncture for ovulation induction in polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized controlled trial

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2013 May 1;304(9):E934-43. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00039.2013. Epub 2013 Mar 12.

Johansson J1, Redman L, Veldhuis PP, Sazonova A, Labrie F, Holm G, Johannsson G, Stener-Victorin E.

 

Abstract

Acupuncture has been demonstrated to improve menstrual frequency and to decrease circulating testosterone in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Our aim was to investigate whether acupuncture affects ovulation frequency and to understand the underlying mechanisms of any such effect by analyzing LH and sex steroid secretion in women with PCOS. This prospective, randomized, controlled clinical trial was conducted between June 2009 and September 2010. Thirty-two women with PCOS were randomized to receive either acupuncture with manual and low-frequency electrical stimulation or to meetings with a physical therapist twice a week for 10-13 wk. Main outcome measures were changes in LH secretion patterns from baseline to after 10-13 wk of treatment and ovulation frequency during the treatment period. Secondary outcomes were changes in the secretion of sex steroids, anti-Müllerian hormone, inhibin B, and serum cortisol. Ovulation frequency during treatment was higher in the acupuncture group than in the control group. After 10-13 wk of intervention, circulating levels of estrone, estrone sulfate, estradiol, dehydroepiandrosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, androstenedione, testosterone, free testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, androsterone glucuronide, androstane-3α,17β-diol-3-glucuronide, and androstane-3α,17β-diol-17-glucuronide decreased within the acupuncture group and were significantly lower than in the control group for all of these except androstenedione. We conclude that repeated acupuncture treatments resulted in higher ovulation frequency in lean/overweight women with PCOS and were more effective than just meeting with the therapist. Ovarian and adrenal sex steroid serum levels were reduced with no effect on LH secretion.

Acupuncture treatment of male infertility: a systematic review

Zhonghua Nan Ke Xue. 2015 Jul;21(7):637-45.
He Y, Chen CT, Qian LH, Xia CL, Li J, Li SQ, Liu BP.

 

Objective

To systematically evaluate acupuncture as a treatment for male infertility.

 

Methods

We searched Chi na Biology Medical Database (CBM), Wan Fang Medical Information System, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), VIP Information Resource System (VIP), and PubMed for published literature on acupuncture as a treatment for male infertility on May 1 2014. Based on the Standards for Reporting Interventions in Clinical Trials of Acupuncture (STRICTA), we evaluated the quality of the reports, conducted meta-analysis on the identified studies via RevMan5.2, and assessed the quality of the evidence in the literature by Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE).

Results

A total of 12 studies involving 2,177 patients were included, the quality of which was evaluated as mediocre. With regard to the cure rate, acupuncture was comparable to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) (P > 0.05) but better than Western medicine (RR = 4.00, 95% CI 1.63 to 9.82, P < 0.01) while acupuncture + TCM was better than either TCM (RR = 1.77, 95% CI 1.20 to 2.60, P < 0.01) or Western medicine used alone (RR = 2.73, 95% CI 1.51 to 4.93, P < 0.01), and acupuncture + Western medicine was better than Western medicine alone (RR = 1.88, 95% CI 1.17 to 3.02, P = 0.01). The combined use of acupuncture, ear pressure, TCM, and Western medicine showed a higher cure rate than the combination of TCM and Western medicine (RR = 3.45, 95% CI 2.90 to 4.11, P < 0.01). In therapeutic effectiveness, acupuncture was comparable to TCM (P > 0.05) but superior to Western medicine (RR = 1.41, 95% CI 1.12 to 1.71, P < 0.01), acupuncture + TCM was superior to either TCM (RR = 1.14, 95% CI 1.05 to 1.23, P < 0.01) or Western medicine alone (RR = 1.43, 95% CI 1.22 to 1.67, P < 0.01), and acupuncture + Western medicine was superior to Western medicine alone (RR = 1.25, 95% CI 1.05 to 1.49, P = 0.01). In improving sperm concentration, acupuncture was as effective as TCM (P > 0.05) and sham acupuncture (P > 0.05) but outdid Western medicine (RR = 27.00, 95% CI 24.27 to 29.73, P < 0.01) and acupuncture + TCM outdid either TCM (RR = 14.65, 95% CI 7.58 to 21.72, P < 0.01) or Western medicine alone (RR = 1.04, 95% CI–1.43 to 3.51, P > 0.05). In improving grade a sperm, acupuncture exhibited a similar effect to TCM (P > 0.05) and sham acupuncture (P > 0.05), and acupuncture + TCM was more effective than TCM alone (RR = 7.78, 95% CI 3.51 to 12.23, P < 0.01) but equally effective as Western medicine (P > 0.05). In elevating the level of grade a + b sperm, acupuncture + TCM excelled either TCM (RR = 11.00, 95%, CI 3.17 to 18.82, P < 0.01) or Western medicine alone (RR = 12.22, 95% CI 6.87 to 17.57, P < 0. 01), while acupuncture produced a comparable effect with sham acupuncture (P > 0.05). As for the quality of the included studies, only 3 conclusions of the 23 meta-analyses were assessed to be of average quality, while the others of poor or extremely poor quality. Therefore, the recommendation grade of the conclusions was low.

Conclusion

For the treatment of male infertility, acupuncture is reported to be equally effective as TMC and more effective than Western medicine, and its effectiveness is enhanced when applied in combination with either TCM or Western medicine. Acupuncture is distinctively efficacious in improving sperm quality. Nevertheless, the overall quality of the included studies is low.

Acupuncture changes reproductive hormone levels in patients with ovarian deficiency – prospective observational study

Conclusion

electroacupuncture could decrease serum FSH and LH levels, and increase estrogen levels in women with ovarian deficiency with little to no side-effects.

To investigate the effects of electroacupuncture (EA) on serum FSH, E2, and LH levels, women with primary ovarian insufficiency (POI) were treated with EA once a day, five times a week for the first four weeks and once every other day, three times a week, for the following two months, and then were followed up for three months. Serum E2, FSH, and LH levels were measured at baseline, at the end of treatment, and during followup. A total of 11 women with POI were included in this prospective consecutive case series study. Compared with baseline, patients’ serum E2 increased, FSH decreased, and LH decreased (P = 0.002, 0.001, and 0.002, resp.) after EA treatment, and these effects persisted during followup. With treatment, 10 patients resumed menstruation (10/11, 90.91%), whereas one patient remained amenorrhea. During followup, two patients, including the one with amenorrhea during treatment, reported absence of menstruation. Temporary pain occurred occasionally, and no other adverse events were found during treatment. The results suggest that EA could decrease serum FSH and LH levels and increase serum E2 level in women with POI with little or no side effects; however, further randomized control trials are needed.

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:657234. doi: 10.1155/2013/657234. Epub 2013 Feb 28., Zhou K, Jiang J, Wu J, Liu Z. – Department of Acupuncture, Guang An Men Hospital, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, No. 5 Bei Xian Ge Street, Xuan Wu District, Beijing 100053, China ; Department of Physical Therapy, Daemen College, 4380 Main Street, Amherst, NY 14226, USA.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23533511

Acupuncture Relieves the Excessive Excitation of Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Cortex Axis Function and Correlates with the Regulatory Mechanism of GR, CRH, and ACTHR

Conclusion

The results explained that acupuncture regulated the stress reaction via promoting the combination of glucocorticoids (GC) with GR, and GR protein expression.It had been indicated in the previous studies that acupuncture relieved the excessive excitation of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal cortex axis (HPAA) function induced by stress stimulation. But the changes in glucocorticoid receptor (GR) induced by acupuncture have not been detected clearly. The objective of the study was to observe the impacts of acupuncture on the protein expressions of corticotrophin releasing hormone (CRH), adrenocorticotropic hormone receptor (ACTHR), and GR under the physiological and stress states. The results showed that under the stress state, acupuncture upregulated the protein expression of GR in the hippocampus, hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN), and pituitary gland, downregulated the protein expression of GR in the adrenal cortex, and obviously reduced the protein expressions of CRH and ACTHR. Under the physiological state, acupuncture promoted GR protein expression in the hippocampus and CRH protein expression in the hippocampus and PVN. The results explained that acupuncture regulated the stress reaction via promoting the combination of glucocorticoids (GC) with GR, and GR protein expression. The increase of GR protein expression induced feedback inhibition on the overexpression of CRH and ACTHR, likely decreased GC level, and caused the reduction of GR protein expression in the adrenal cortex.

 

Reference

  1. S.J. Wang et al., “Acupuncture relieves the excessive excitation of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal cortex axis function and correlates with the regulatory mechanism of GR, CRH and ACTHR.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 495379, 9 pages. http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/495379