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Hypothesis paper: electroacupuncture targeting the gut–brain axis to modulate neurocognitive determinants of eating behavior - toward a proof of concept in the obese minipig model

  • Zhang, Xuwen
  • Chen, Hanwei
  • Val-Laillet, David
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2020
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Acupuncture has thousands of years of history and perspective for the treatment of many health problems and disorders. Beneficial effects of acupuncture on obesity have been demonstrated at various levels in animals and clinical trials, with almost no adverse effect, even when combined with local electrical stimulation, i.e., electroacupuncture (EA), a way to potentiate the effects of acupuncture. However, there is still scattered evidence about the impact of EA on brain functions related to the control of eating behavior, and notably on the gut–brain axis mechanisms involved in these putative central modulations. During the past 10 years, we have described a convincing diet-induced obese minipig model, and successfully implemented brain imaging and neurocognitive approaches to challenge mechanistic hypotheses and innovative therapeutic strategies. In the present article, we propose to confront the current literature on the acupuncture and EA effects on the gut–brain axis and obesity with the latest developments in nutrition and neuroscience research using the minipig model. Our aims are to (a) elaborate functional hypotheses on the gut–brain mechanisms underlying EA effects on obesity, and especially on the role of the vagus nerve, and (b) present the rational for testing these hypotheses in the minipig model.

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