Effects of Electroacupuncture on Ovarian Expression of the Androgen Receptor and Connexin 43 in Rats with Letrozole-Induced Polycystic Ovaries.
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2020;2020:3608062
Authors: Xu G, Zhang A, Liu J, Wang X, Feng J, Chen Y
Background: Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) occurs in women of reproductive age and is often characterized by reproductive and endocrine dysfunction. Androgens play a major role in PCOS, and previous studies reported abnormal expression of Connexin 43 (Cx43) in animal models of PCOS, suggesting an association of Cx43 with PCOS pathogenesis. Experimental and clinical evidence indicated that acupuncture may be a safe and effective approach for treating reproductive and endocrine disorders in women with PCOS. This study aimed to determine the effects of electroacupuncture (EA) on PCOS and its relationship with the expression of the androgen receptor (AR) and Cx43.
Methods: In total, 30 female Sprague Dawley rats (6 weeks old) were randomly divided into three groups: control group, letrozole (LE) group, and LE + EA group. Rats were administered LE solution (1.0 mg/kg) for 21 consecutive days to induce PCOS. For the LE + EA group, additional EA treatment was conducted (2 Hz, 20 min/d) with “Guanyuan” (CV3) for 14 consecutive days. After hematoxylin-eosin staining, the ovarian structure was observed with an optical microscope, and serum levels of the following hormones were examined via enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA): testosterone (T), estradiol (E2), sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH); luteinizing hormone (LH), insulin (INS), anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH), and inhibin B (INHB). Fasting blood glucose (FBG) levels were evaluated using glucose oxidase-peroxidase. Ovarian mRNA and protein expressions of AR and Cx43 were determined by real-time RT-PCR and Western blot analysis.
Results: EA was found to restore the cyclicity and ovarian morphology in the PCOS rat model. Serum derived from the LE + EA group showed significant decreases in the levels of T, free androgen index (FAI), LH, LH/FSH ratio, AMH, INHB, and fasting serum insulin (FINS), and significant increases in the levels of E2, FSH, and SHBG. Western blot analysis showed a decreased protein expression of ovarian AR and Cx43; real-time RT-PCR showed reduced expression of ovarian mRNA levels of AR and Cx43.
Conclusions: In conclusion, our results showed that EA can ease hyperandrogenism and polycystic ovary morphology in PCOS rats. Furthermore, EA counteracted the letrozole-induced upregulation of AR and Cx43. These results suggested that acupuncture can break the vicious cycle initiated by excessive androgen secretion and may be an effective treatment method for improving the reproductive and endocrine dysfunction caused by PCOS.
PMID: 32733580 [PubMed]