Electroacupuncture reduces body fat and weight

Background: Obesity can be caused by abnormalities of hypothalamic autophagy, which is closely regulated by the epigenetic modification of TSC1-mTOR. However, whether the weight-reducing effect of electroacupuncture may relate to the modification of TSC1-mTOR methylation and hypothalamic autophagy remain unclear. This study was conducted to reveal the possible mechanism by which electroacupuncture reduces body weight by measuring the levels of TSC1-mTOR methylation and hypothalamic autophagy-related components. 

Methods: The weight-reducing effect of electroacupuncture was investigated in high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obese (DIO) rats by monitoring the body weight, food consumption, and epididymal white adipose tissue (eWAT)/body weight ratio. Hematoxylin and eosin staining was performed for morphological evaluation of eWAT. Immunofluorescence was utilized to observe the localization of LC3 in the hypothalamus. The expressions of autophagy components (Beclin-1, LC3, and p62) and mTOR signaling (mTOR, p-mTOR, p70S6K, and p-p70S6K) were assessed by western blot. The methylation rate of the TSC1 promoter was detected by bisulfite genomic sequencing. 

Results:Treatment with electroacupuncture significantly reduced the body weight, food consumption, and eWAT/body weight ratio; attenuated the morphological alternations in the adipocytes of DIO rats. While HFD downregulated the expression levels of Beclin-1 and LC3 and upregulated those of p62, these changes were normalized by electroacupuncture treatment. Electroacupuncture markedly decreased the methylation rate of the TSC1 gene promoter and suppressed the protein expressions of mTOR, p-mTOR, p70S6K, and p-p70S6K in the hypothalamus. 

Conclusion: Electroacupuncture could reduce body weight and fat accumulation in DIO rats. This ameliorative effect of electroacupuncture may be associated with its demethylation effect on TSC1-mTOR and regulation of autophagy in the hypothalamus.

Reference: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36313328/

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About Attilio

Doctor of Chinese medicine, acupuncture expert and author of My Fertility Guide and My Pregnancy Guide.

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