Acupuncture and immune function in chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome: a randomized, controlled study.
Complement Ther Med. 2014 Dec ;22(6):965-9. Epub 2014 Oct 23. PMID: 25453515
Shaun Wen Huey Lee
OBJECTIVE: The immune system has been implicated as one mechanism underlying the benefits of acupuncture therapy. Evidence suggests that acupuncture can ameliorate symptoms of chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS), but the association between clinical response and the immune system has not been investigated.
DESIGN/SETTING: We investigated 12 CP/CPPS patients participating in a prospective randomized clinical trial comparing acupuncture versus sham acupuncture for effects on cellular immunity. Blood samples were taken before the first needling and after the last of 20 treatment sessions (week 10). Patients also completed questionnaires examining their CP/CPPS symptoms and mood status at the baseline and end of study visits.
RESULTS: At the end of study 8 of 12 participants (67%) were classified as treatment responders, four participants each from the acupuncture and sham groups. The acupuncture group averaged a 5% increase in natural killer cell levels compared to corresponding sham (-13%; p=0.03). Similarly, patients randomized to acupuncture reported a reduction in other white blood cell parameters examined, supporting the possibility that immunity might be important in the pathophysiology of CP/CPPS.
CONCLUSIONS: The specific effect of acupuncture on CP/CPPS remains unclear. Further research is warranted to examine the mechanisms by which acupuncture therapy may improve clinical symptoms in patients with CP/CPPS.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00260637).