Low and high frequency electro-acupuncture (EA) stimulation was used in rats that had been lesioned by medial forebrain bundle transection. Behavioral tests showed that both low and high frequency EA stimulation significantly reduced the amphetamine-induced rotation 2 weeks after the lesion but only high frequency EA improved the rotational behavior at 4 weeks. Analysis of the dopamine content in the striatum did not show any significant change after EA. In situ hybridization showed that high frequency EA stimulation up-regulated the glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) mRNA in both sides of the globus pallidus, while low frequency EA only affected the unlesioned side. It suggests that the retrograde nourishment of GDNF to the dopaminergic neurons and the balanced activity of different nuclei in the basal ganglia circuit after EA may contribute to the behavioral improvement in these rats, which might be the factors that underlie the effectiveness of EA in the treatment of Parkinson's disease.