Atherosclerosis. 1979 Jun; 33(2): 153-64.
Neurogenic regulation of lipid metabolism in the rabbit. A mechanism for the cholesterol-lowering effect of acupuncture.
Plasma and aortic cholesterol levels are known to fall significantly after needling at the specific point which is innervated by a branch of the deep peroneal nerve. Different types of stimulation were applied to the specific nerve, using solely needling, injection of normal saline with needling and injection of a small dose of novocain with needling at the specific point in several groups of rabbits fed a high cholesterol diet for two or three weeks. Significant decreases in plasma and aortic cholesterol were obtained in the combined acupuncture group after one or two weeks of acupuncture. When the specific point was blocked by injection of a larger dose of novocain or the deep peroneal nerve was cut, then needling at the specific point lost its hypocholesterolemic effect. It is thus suspected that stimulation of sensory receptors of the deep peroneal nerve at the specific point may be the mechanism of the cholesterol-lowering action of acupuncture.