Background: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine disorder characterized by hyperandrogenism and follicular arrest. Electroacupuncture has been shown to be effective at improving hyperandrogenism and follicular arrest in PCOS; however, its mechanism of action remains to be deciphered.
Objective: In this study, we investigated whether electroacupuncture improved follicular development in an obese rat model of PCOS and regulated the expression of adiponectin, AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC).
Methods: electroacupuncture was administered at CV3, CV4 and ST40. Changes in body weight, paraovarian fat, estrus cycle, ovarian morphology, levels of related hormones, and glucose and lipid metabolism were evaluated. In addition, protein and mRNA expression of adiponectin, AMPK and ACC was measured.
Results: The body weight and paraovarian fat of rats in the electroacupuncture group were reduced, while estrus cyclicity and ovarian morphology improved. Levels of free fatty acids, triglycerides, total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol were significantly reduced in the electroacupuncture group, as well as blood glucose levels.
Furthermore, levels of testosterone and luteinizing hormone were reduced in the electroacupuncture group, while estradiol levels were increased. Protein and mRNA expression of adiponectin, AMPKα1 and liver kinase B1 (LKB1) was found to be increased in the EA group, while protein and mRNA expression of ACC were significantly reduced.
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that electroacupuncture improved follicular development and metabolism and regulated expression levels of adiponectin, AMPKα1, LKB1 and ACC in our obese rat model of PCOS.