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Neurosci Lett. 2008 Feb 20;432(2):111-6. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2007.12.009. Epub 2007 Dec 15.

Acupuncture improves cognitive deficits and regulates the brain cell proliferation of SAMP8 mice.

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Tianjin Key Laboratory of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Molecular Biology Laboratory, Acupuncture and Moxibustion Research Institute, First Teaching Hospital of Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tianjin 300193, China.


Senescence-accelerated mouse prone 8 (SAMP8) is an autogenic senile strain characterized by early cognitive impairment and age-related deterioration of learning and memory. To investigate the effect of acupuncture on behavioral changes and brain cell events, male 4-month-old SAMP8 and age-matched homologous normal aging SAMR1 mice were divided into four groups: SAMP8 acupuncture group (Pa), SAMP8 non-acupoint control group (Pn), SAMP8 control group (Pc) and SAMR1 normal control group (Rc). By Morris water maze test, the cognitive deficit of SAMP8 was revealed and significantly improved by "Yiqitiaoxue and Fubenpeiyuan" acupuncture. Meanwhile, by 5'-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) specific immunodetection, the decreased cell proliferation in dentate gyrus (DG) of SAMP8 was greatly enhanced by the therapeutic acupuncture, suggesting acupoint-related specificity. Even though no significant differences were found in ventricular/subventricular zones (VZ/SVZ) of the third ventricle (V3) and lateral ventricle (LV) between groups, we obtained interesting results: a stream-like distribution of newly proliferated cells presented along the dorsum of alveus hippocampi (Alv), extending from LV to corpus callosum (CC), and the therapeutic acupuncture showed a marked effect on this region. Our research suggests that acupuncture can induce different cell proliferation in different brain regions of SAMP8, which brings forth the need to explore further for the mechanism of cognitive deficits and acupuncture intervention in this field.

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