Transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation improves outcomes of in vitro fertilization by increasing neuropeptide Y levels: A RCT

1-s2.0-S1876382015X00023-cov150hFan Qu et al, EuJIM, 2015 Vol 7, Suppl 1, p 18

European Journal of Integrative Medicine,

Electrical stimulation of acupuncture points (TEAS) has been shown to improve success rates of frozen embryo transfer cycles in previous clinical trials, with evidence of improvement in the structure of the uterine lining. In this large RCT the levels of a certain neuropeptide (NPY) was increased in the follicles of IVF patients who received electro-stimulation (frequency alternating 2/100Hz) and in the same women, the pregnancy rate was significantly improved. Other stimulation freqencies did not alter the neuropeptide Y levels or the pregnancy rate.


Introduction: To explore whether transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation (TEAS) can improve outcomes of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and the possible mechanism.

Methods: A prospective, randomized and controlled study was conducted in Reproductive Medicine Center of Zhejiang Province, China. A total of 481 infertile patients with tubal blockage who were referred to the center for IVF were included. They were randomized into a control group (n = 120), a TEAS- 2 Hz group (n = 121), a TEAS-100 Hz group (n = 119) and a TEAS-2/100 Hz group (n = 121). The oocytes developmental competence was evaluated and the data of clinical pregnancy rate (CPR), and implantation rate (IR) were obtained for all the women. The levels of neuropeptide Y (NPY), transforming growth factor alpha (TGF-alpha) and granulocyte colonystimulating factor (G-CSF) in follicular fluids (FF) were detected with ELISA.

Results: No significant differences were found among the four groups on the numbers of metaphase II oocytes, normally fertilized zygotes, early cleavage embryos or good quality embryos (P > 0.05). However, the CPR and IR of the TEAS- 2/100 Hz group were significantly higher than other groups, respectively (P 0.05). The NPY levels in FF of TEAS-2/100 Hz group were significantly higher than the other groups (P 0.05). No side-effect of the treatment was reported.

Conclusions: TEAS using a frequency of 2/100 Hz could help to improve the IVF outcomes partly by increasing the neuropeptide Y levels in FF.