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J Acupunct Res > Volume 32(1); 2015 > Article
Shin, Lee, and Kim: The Protective Effects of Acupuncture on Oxidative Stress Caused by Cadmium in the Kidney※
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This study was performed to inquire into the protective effects of acupuncture on oxidative stress caused by cadmium accumulation in the kidney.


Sprague-Dawley male(150±30 g) rats were stabilized for 1 week and divided into 5 groups: normal, control, LR3 acupuncture, BL23 acupuncture and sham acupuncture. For three days experimental groups received oral doses of cadmium 2 mg/kg twice a day. Acupuncture was applied bilaterally at each point 10 times for two weeks. The depth of stimulation was 1 mm at right angles and torsion of acupuncture was produced 2 times per second for 1 minute. The kidneys were extracted and weighed after two weeks, and renal function was confirmed through blood urea nitrogen(BUN). We measured reactive oxygen species of the serum and kidney, and compared expression levels of superoxide dismutase(SOD), catalase, glutathione peroxidase(Gpx), nuclear factor erythroid derived 2-related factor 2(Nrf-2), heme oxygenase-1(HO-1), nuclear factor-κB(NF-κB), cyclooxygenase-2(COX-2), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), Bax and Cytochrome c.


The LR3 acupuncture group and BL23 acupuncture group experienced significantly increased kidney weight, and decreased BUN compared to control group. In terms of oxidative stress, the LR3 acupuncture group and BL23 acupuncture group experienced significantly reduced reactive oxygen species compared to the control group.


The LR3 acupuncture group and BL23 acupuncture group experienced showed the effects of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and apoptosis protection. The BL23 acupuncture group was more effective than LR3 acupuncture group.


This study was supported by Dongil Munhwa Student Aid Foundation in 2013.

Fig. 1.
Renal antioxidant enzyme-related protein expressions
(A) superoxide dismutase(SOD). (B) Catalase. (C) glutathione peroxidase(Gpx).
*: p < 0.05, **: p < 0.01, ***: p < 0.001 compared to cadmium-treated control group by ANOVA.
Fig. 2.
Renal antioxidant gene-related protein expressions
(A) nuclear factor erythroid derived 2-related factor 2(Nrf-2).
(B) heme oxygenase-1(HO-1).
*: p < 0.05, **: p < 0.01 compared to cadmium-treated control group by ANOVA.
Fig. 3.
Renal inflammation-related protein expressions
(A) nuclear factor-κB(NF-κB). (B) cyclooxygenase-2(COX-2). (C) inducible nitric oxide synthase(iNOS).
*: p < 0.05, **: p < 0.01 compared to cadmium-treated control group by ANOVA.
Fig. 4.
Renal apoptosis-related protein expressions
(A) Bax. (B) cytochrome c.
*: p < 0.05, **: p < 0.01 compared to cadmium-treated control group by ANOVA.
Fig. 5.
Predictable mechanisms in renal tissues applied acupuncture
Table 1.
Body Weight Gain and Kidney Weight
Item Normal Cadmium 2 mg/kg
Control LR3 BL23 Sham
Body weight gain (g/3 weeks) 89.8±4.2c 81±7.0 74.6±12.9 77.6±9.6 79.8±10.5
Tissue weight (g) Kidney 2.52±0.07c 2.01±.0.03 2.05±0.05 2.41±0.10b 1.96±0.08
% of tissue weight (g/100 g B.W.) Kidney 0.99±0.03c 0.81±0.01 0.85±0.01a 1.16±0.07b 0.81±0.03

a p < 0.05,

b p < 0.01,

c p < 0.001 compared to cadmium-treated control group by ANOVA.

Table 2.
Parameters of Renal Function
Item Normal Cadmium 2 mg/kg
Control LR3 BL23 Sham
BUN(mg/dl) 13.6±1.0b 23.6±1.4 15.3±1.7a 14.4±1.4b 20.6±0.5

a p < 0.05,

b p < 0.01 compared to cadmium-treated control group by ANOVA.

Table 3.
ROS Generation in the Serum and Kidney
Item Normal Cadmium 2 mg/kg
Control LR3 BL23 Sham
Serum ROS(flu/min/mℓ) 61±3b 145±17 62±5b 34±2c 145±21
Renal ROS(flu/min/mg protein) 214±29c 485±35 176±17c 169±18c 466±19

b p < 0.01,

c p < 0.001 compared to cadmium-treated control group by ANOVA.



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