In the context of psychoneuroimmunology, which studies the complex interactions between the nervous system and the immune system, anxiety-causing situations affect the immune function leading to its impairment, whereas acupuncture provides the possibility of improving it via its action on the nervous system. Therefore, the aim of the present work was to study, in anxious adult women, the effect of an acupuncture treatment specifically designed to relieve their symptoms, on several parameters known to be altered in disturbed emotional situations. These include the release by blood leukocytes of the cytokines interleukin-2 (IL-2) and tumour necrosis factor-alfa (TNF-alpha), as well as the plasma cortisol levels and total antioxidant capacity. The results show regulation by acupuncture of all the studied parameters, as early as 72 hours after one single acupuncture session. Thus, the levels of IL-2, which were decreased in women with anxiety, increase following acupuncture, and the levels of TNF-alpha and cortisol, which were increased in these patients, decrease after the session. Therefore, acupuncture could exert its therapeutic action on anxiety by modulation of a number of parameters including those examined in the present work.
anxiety; acupuncture; cytokines; cortisol; total antioxidant levels; women
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