Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is caused by the degeneration of lower and upper motor neurons, leading to muscle paralysis and respiratory failure. However, there is no effective drug or therapy to treat ALS. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), including acupuncture, pharmacopuncture, herbal medicine, and massage is popular due to the significant limitations of conventional therapy. Bee venom acupuncture (BVA), also known as one of pharmacopunctures, has been used in Oriental medicine to treat inflammatory diseases. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of BVA on the central nervous system (CNS) and muscle in symptomatic hSOD1<sup>G93A</sup> transgenic mice, an animal model of ALS. Our findings show that BVA at ST36 enhanced motor function and decreased motor neuron death in the spinal cord compared to that observed in hSOD1<sup>G93A</sup> transgenic mice injected intraperitoneally (i.p.) with BV. Furthermore, BV treatment at ST36 eliminated signaling downstream of inflammatory proteins such as TLR4 in the spinal cords of symptomatic hSOD1<sup>G93A</sup> transgenic mice. However, i.p. treatment with BV reduced the levels of TNF-α and Bcl-2 expression in the muscle hSOD1<sup>G93A</sup> transgenic mice. Taken together, our findings suggest that BV pharmacopuncture into certain acupoints may act as a chemical stimulant to activate those acupoints and subsequently engage the endogenous immune modulatory system in the CNS in an animal model of ALS.
Cai, M. D., Choi, S. M., & Yang, E. J. (2015). The effects of bee venom acupuncture on the central nervous system and muscle in an animal hsOD1G93A mutant. Toxins, 7(3), 846–858. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins7030846