Acupuncture Regulates Immune Factors
The immune system plays an important role during implantation and fertility. The immune system helps to regulate the fertilised embryo’s docking and interaction with the mother. If the immune system is too strong, it won’t allow the fertilised embryo to properly imbed into the uterus lining. Whereas, if the immune system is too weak, the fertilised embryo can imbed too deeply causing ill health to the mother. Therefore, having a balanced immune system is important for implantation and pregnancy.
Immune factor infertility lies at the cutting-edge of reproductive medicine. The immune system is made up of T and B cells. The ones that are important for fertility and pregnancy are the Natural Killer (NK) cells and the immune messengers cytokines.
In pregnancy rejection is controlled by T-helper-1 (TH-1) cytokines, whereas a T-helper-2 (TH-2) cytokines protect the pregnancy. Therefore, the ratio of TH-1 to TH-2 is important, as the balance needs to be in favour of TH-2 cytokines for the pregnancy to survive. TH-1 is made up of interferon-?, interleukin (IL)-2, IL-12 and tumour necrosis factor-ß, all of which inhibit pregnancy. TH-2 - IL-4, IL-6 and IL-10 cytokines, all of which protect pregnancy.
Most fertility clinics won’t offer immune testing or suppression. Luckily, research has shown that acupuncture is able to regulate the immune factors NK cells and cytokines (IL-1b, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, IFN-g, TNF-a), thereby helping fertility.
Kim, et al. (2010) Acupuncture and immune modulation. Autonomic Neuroscience: Basic and Clinical 157, 38–41.