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BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013 Oct 28;13:288. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-13-288.

Electroacupuncture upregulates ERK signaling pathways and promotes adult hippocampal neural progenitors proliferation in a rat model of depression.

Author information

1
Department of Integrative Medicine and Neurobiology, Institute of Acupuncture Research (WHO Collaborating Center for Traditional Medicine), State Key Lab of Medical Neurobiology, Institutes of Brain Science, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, P,R, China. yujin@shmu.edu.cn.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In this study, we investigate the proliferation of adult neural stem cells (NSCs) in a chronic unpredictable stress (CUS) rat model of depression, the effects of electroacupunture (EA) on depressive-like symptoms and the corresponding signaling pathways.

METHODS:

SD rats were subjected to 4 weeks of CUS to induce depressive-like behaviors. EA was performed at the Du-20 (Bai-Hui) and GB-34 (Yang-Ling-Quan) acupoints. Rats were injected with BrdU and the brains were cut into sections. Double-labeling with BrdU/Sox2 and p-ERK/Nestin was performed to demonstrate the in vivo proliferation of adult NSCs in hippocampus and ERK activation in NSCs. Hippocampal microdialysates of different groups were collected to observe the in vitro effects on NSCs.

RESULTS:

After 8 treatments, EA generated a clear antidepressant effect on the stressed rats and promoted the NSC proliferation. ERK activation might be involved in the antidepressant-like effects of EA treatment. Hippocampal microdialysates from EA-treated stressed rats influenced NSCs to form larger neural spheres and exhibit higher p-ERK level in vitro, compared to the untreated stressed rats. Meanwhile, the antidepressant-like effects of EA involved contribution from both acupoint specificity and electrical stimulus.

CONCLUSIONS:

EA might interfere with the hippocampal microenvironment and enhance the activation of ERK signaling pathways. This could mediate, at least in part, the beneficial effects of EA on NSC proliferation and depressive-like behaviors.

PMID:
24165147
PMCID:
PMC3813990
DOI:
10.1186/1472-6882-13-288
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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