East West Integrative Medicine

Case study: Acupuncture increases NK cell count

44 yo woman presented with a low serum CD57 count (CD57 is a marker on NK cells CD8 1*,
Lab used Labcorp 2*) , presumed to be related to Chronic Lyme Disease 3* . Although this is
controversial in the diagnosis of Lyme disease 4*, the goal was to use Acupuncture to improve
her immune system and normalize her CD57 count. This patient had already received 9 months
of oral doxycycline.

She had 3 visits for acupuncture with us. 
The patient’s CD57 had an average improvement of 2.5 fold over baseline (table 1 and figure 1).
She had enough improvement in her joint pain that she was able to return to work.
Weekly treatments would have been preferred and may have resulted in better results. But due
to scheduling issues it was not possible.

It was rewarding to see that a Chinese treatment used for millennia to support immune system
be verified by laboratory values. Potential future studies: To see if improvement is sustained
and for how long, if other Acupuncture protocols can achieve same, randomized controls study
and efficacy in other diseases that involve lower or dysfunctional immunity, chronic fatigue, auto
immunity, cancer and aging. 5*

1* Strioga M, Pasukoniene V, Characiejus D. Immuol 2011 Sep;134(1):17-32
CD8+ CD28- and CD8+ CD57+ T cells and their role in health and disease.
2* Savely G, www.researchhednutritionals.com
3* Goldman, E, Holistic Primary Care, 2011 Fall; Vol 12, No. 3;
4* Marques A, Brown MR, Fleisher TA, Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2009 Aug; 16(8): 1249-1250;
www.CDC.gov/lyme/diagnosistesting/labtest, Natural killer cell counts are not different between
patients with post-Lyme disease syndrome and controls.
5* Ohkawa T, Seki S, Dobashi H, et al, Immunol. 2001 Jul;103(3):281-90
Systematic characterization of human CD8+ T cells with natural killer cell markers in
comparison with natural killer cells and normal CD8+ T cells.