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Neurosci Lett. 2009 Jan 30;450(2):92-6. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2008.11.049. Epub 2008 Nov 27.

Acupuncture inhibits ferric iron deposition and ferritin-heavy chain reduction in an MPTP-induced parkinsonism model.

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  • 1Research Group of Pain and Neuroscience, WHO Collaborating Center for Traditional Medicine, East-West Medical Research Institute, Seoul, Republic of Korea.


This study investigated the effect of acupuncture on iron-related oxidative damage in a mouse model designed as a 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-induced parkinsonism model. To generate the chronic parkinsonism model, mice were intraperitoneally injected with MPTP (20mg/kg, one daily injection) for 30 days and acupuncture was performed at acupoints LR3 (Taichong) and GB34 (Yanglingquan) at 48h intervals. Acupuncture inhibited decreases in the immunoreactivities of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and dopamine transporter (DAT) that occurred as a result of MPTP neurotoxicity. The presence of ferric iron (Fe(3+)), but not ferrous iron (Fe(2+)), was strongly increased in the substantia nigra (SN) as a result of chronic loading of MPTP, whereas the ferritin-heavy chain (F-H) was significantly decreased. However, acupuncture treatment inhibited the increase in ferric iron and the decrease in the F-H that was induced by MPTP. Additionally, treatment with MPTP and acupuncture caused no changes in the presence of ferrous iron and ferritin-light chain (F-L) as a result of the treatments. The mRNA of F-H was also not affected. These results suggest that acupuncture may inhibit iron-related oxidative damage and may prevent the deleterious alteration of iron metabolism in the MPTP model.

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