Transcutaneous Electrical Acupoint Stimulation Improves the Outcomes of In Vitro Fertilization: A Prospective, Randomized and Controlled Study.
OBJECTIVES: To explore whether transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation (TEAS) can improve the outcomes of in vitro fertilization (IVF).
DESIGN: A prospective, randomized, and controlled study.
SETTING: IVF center in a university hospital.
PARTICIPANTS: Four hundred and eighty-one infertile patients with bilateral tubal blockage who were referred for IVF. Patients were randomized into four groups.
INTERVENTION: TEAS was administered for 30min, respectively, at 24h before TVOR and two hours before ET. The acupoints included SP10 (Xuehai, bilateral), SP8 (Diji, bilateral), LR3 (Taichong, bilateral), ST36 (Zusanli, bilateral), EX-CA1 (Zigong, bilateral), RN4 (Guanyuan), PC6 (Neiguan, bilateral), and RN12 (Zhongwan). Based on different frequencies of TEAS, patients were grouped into a TEAS-2Hz group, a TEAS-100Hz group and a TEAS-2/100Hz group. Patients in the control group only received routine IVF treatment and no TEAS was applied on them.
PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES: The number of mature oocytes, normally fertilized oocytes and good-quality embryos were used to evaluate oocyte developmental competence of the patients. Data of clinical pregnancy rate (CPR), implantation rate (IR), and live birth rate (LBR) were also obtained. The levels of neuropeptide Y (NPY), transforming growth factor alpha and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor in the follicular fluids were measured with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
RESULTS: No significant differences were found between the control, TEAS-2Hz, TEAS-100Hz and TEAS-2/100Hz groups on the numbers of metaphase II oocytes, normally fertilized zygotes, early cleavage embryos or good quality embryos (P > .05). However, the CPR, IR and LBR of the TEAS-2/100Hz group were significantly higher than those of the other groups, respectively (P < .05). The NPY levels in the follicular fluids of TEAS-2/100Hz group were significantly higher than those of the other groups (P < .05).
CONCLUSION: TEAS using a frequency of 2/100Hz could help to improve the IVF outcomes partly by increasing NPY levels in the follicular fluids.
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