Acupuncture Reduces Hypertrophy and Cardiac Fibrosis, and Improves Heart Function in Mice with Diabetic Cardiomyopathy

Yumei Ye, Yochai Birnbaum, Steven G. Widen, Zhaohui Zhang, Shipeng Zhu, Mandeep Bajaj, Huan Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Purpose: To assess the effects of electro-acupuncture (EA) on glycemic control, myocardial inflammation, and the progression of diabetic cardiomyopathy in mice with type 2 diabetes. Methods: Db/Db mice received EA at PC6+ST36 (DM-Acu), non-acupoint simulation (DM-Sham), or no treatment (DM). EA was applied for 30 min per day, 5 days a week for 4 weeks. Heart function was assessed by echocardiography. Myocardium was assessed by RT-PCR, immunoblotting, and histology. Serum TNF-α, IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-8 were measured. Results: DM-Acu, but not DM-Sham, reduced fasting blood glucose without affecting body weight. DM decreased systolic function. DM-Acu, but not DM-Sham, attenuated the decrease in systolic function. Heart weight was significantly smaller in the DM-Acu than in the DM and DM-Sham groups. Percent fibrosis and apoptosis were reduced in the DM-Acu, but not the DM-Sham, group. Serum levels of IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, ICAM-1, MCP-1, and TNF-α were significantly lower in the DM-Acu than in the DM or DM-Sham groups. Protein levels of P-Akt and P-AMPK and mRNA levels of phosphoinositide-3-kinase regulatory subunit 6 (PIK3r6) were significantly higher in the DM-Acu group. Myocardial mRNA and protein levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R) were significantly lower in the DM and DM-Sham groups compared with the DM-Acu group. Conclusions: EA reduced serum glucose; prevented DM-induced hypertrophy and deterioration of systolic function, inflammation, and fibrosis; and restored IGF1R, P-Akt, and P-AMPK levels in mice with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)835-848
Number of pages14
JournalCardiovascular Drugs and Therapy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Acupuncture
  • Animal models
  • Apoptosis
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Diabetic cardiomyopathy
  • Glycemic control
  • Inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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