search for


J Korean Med Rehabil 2019 Apr; 29(2): 91-99  
Effect of Acupuncture on Depression and Cell Proliferation in Hippocampal Gyrus Dentatus of Maternal-separated Rat Pups
Published online April 30, 2019
Copyright © 2019 The Society of Korean Medicine Rehabilitation.

Jung-Sik Park, K.M.D., Hyung-Ho Lim, K.M.D.

College of Korean Medicine, Gachon University
Correspondence to: Hyung-Ho Lim, College of Korean Medicine, Gachon University, 1342 Seongnam-daero, Sujeong-gu, Seongnam 13120, Korea
TEL +82-31-750-8599
FAX +82-31-750-5416
Received: March 29, 2019; Revised: April 3, 2019; Accepted: April 5, 2019
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Objectives The loss of maternal care during early postnatal period may increase development of mood-related disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and personality disorders. In this study, the effect of acupuncture on depression in relation with cell proliferation in the hippocampal gyrus dentatus was investigated using maternal-separated rat pups.

Methods On the postnatal 14th day, rat pups from six dams were grouped into following groups: maternal care group, maternal separation group, maternal separation and non-acupoint-acupunctured group, maternal separation and Zusanli-acupunctured group, and maternal separation and fluoxetine-treated group. Acupuncture was performed from postnatal 28th day to postnatal 37th day. The rat pups that belong in the maternal separation and fluoxetine-treated group were injected subcutaneously with 5 mg/kg fluoxetine hydrochloride once a day for the same period of time. To evaluate activity of the rat pups, open field test was performed. Immunohistochemistry for serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) and tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH) in the dorsal raphe and for 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) in the hippocampal gyrus dentatus was conducted.

Results The present results reveal that the activity was decreased by maternal separation. In contrast, acupuncture at Zusanli overcame maternal separation-induced hypoactivity. Maternal separation suppressed TPH expression and 5-HT synthesis in the dorsal raphe and decreased cell proliferation in the hippocampal gyrus dentatus of rat pups. In contrast, acupuncture at Zusanli alleviated maternal separation-induced decrease of 5-HT synthesisand TPH expression.

Conclusions The present results demonstrate that acupuncture at Zusanli ameliorated depressive state through increasing cell proliferation and enhancing 5-HT synthesis.

Keywords : Maternal separation, Acupuncture, Depression, Cell proliferation, Serotonin, Zusanli

April 2019, 29 (2)

Cited By Articles
  • CrossRef (0)

Funding Information

  • Crossref TDM
  • CrossMark
  • orcid