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Int J Neurosci. 2014 Mar;124(3):204-12. doi: 10.3109/00207454.2013.840781. Epub 2013 Sep 27.

Electroacupuncture enhances hippocampal NSCs proliferation in cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injured rats via activation of notch signaling pathway.

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1College of Rehabilitation Medicine.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the mechanisms by which electroacupuncture (EA) enhances hippocampal neural stem cells (NSCs) proliferation in cerebral ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injured rats. A total of 72 male adult Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into the sham operation control group (SC), the ischemia control group (IC) and the EA group. Middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) was performed to establish the focal cerebral I/R injury model. Proliferation of hippocampal NSCs in cerebral I/R injured rats was determined by the Nestin immunohistochemical staining. Activation of the notch signaling pathway was detected by Western blotting and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction analysis. The serum level of neurotrophic factors, e.g., the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and the Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), was measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The results showed that EA at Quchi (LI11) and Zusanli (ST36) acupoints significantly alleviated neurological deficits, reduced infarct volumes and promoted the proliferation of hippocampal NSCs in cerebral I/R injured rats. The crucial signaling molecules in the notch signaling pathway were activated and the secretion of BDNF and GDNF was increased upon EA. The protein and mRNA levels of Cyclin D1, Cdk4 and p-Rb were increased, while p21 and p27 transcripts were suppressed by notch signaling. These results suggest that the up-regulatory effect of EA on the notch signaling pathway and neurotrophic factor secretion may result in the promotion of NSCs proliferation and consequently a therapeutic effect on cerebral ischemia.

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