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Brain Res. 2007 Feb 2;1131(1):211-9. Epub 2006 Dec 14.

Acupuncture inhibits microglial activation and inflammatory events in the MPTP-induced mouse model.

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  • 1Department of Meridian and Acupoints, College of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, South Korea; WHO Collaborating Centre for Traditional Medicine, East-West Medical Research Institute, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, South Korea.


Using a mouse model of 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-induced Parkinson's disease (PD), this study investigated on the neuroprotective effects of acupuncture by examining whether acupuncture contributed to inhibiting microglial activation and inflammatory events. C57BL/6 mice were treated with MPTP (30 mg/kg, i.p.) for 5 consecutive days. Acupuncture was then applied to acupoints Yanglingquan (GB34) and Taichong (LR3) starting 2 h after the first MPTP administration and then at 48 h intervals until the mice were sacrificed for analyses at 1, 3, and 7 days after the last MPTP injection. These experiments demonstrated that acupuncture inhibited the decreased of the tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) immunoreactivity (IR) and generated a neuroprotective effects in the striatum (ST) and the substantia nigra (SN) on days 1, 3, and 7 post-MPTP injections. Acupuncture attenuated the increase of macrophage antigen complex-1 (MAC-1), a marker of microglial activation, at 1 and 3 days and reduced the increases in cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression on days 1, 3, and 7. In MPTP group, striatal dopamine (DA) was measured by 46% at 7 days, whereas DA in the acupuncture group was 78%. On the basis of these results, we suggest that acupuncture could be used as a neuroprotective intervention for the purpose of inhibiting microglial activation and inflammatory events in PD.

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