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Exp Ther Med. 2017 Aug;14(2):939-946. doi: 10.3892/etm.2017.4622. Epub 2017 Jun 16.

Electroacupuncture attenuates learning and memory impairment via activation of α7nAChR-mediated anti-inflammatory activity in focal cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injured rats.

Liu J1,2, Li C1, Peng H1, Yu K1, Tao J1, Lin R1,3, Chen L1.

Author information

1
College of Rehabilitation Medicine, Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Fuzhou, Fujian 350108, P.R. China.
2
Fujian Rehabilitation Tech Co-innovation Center, Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Fuzhou, Fujian 350122, P.R. China.
3
Academy of Integrative Medicine, Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Fuzhou, Fujian 350122, P.R. China.

Abstract

Studies have reported that electroacupuncture (EA) may reduce learning and memory impairment following cerebral ischemic injury. However, the precise mechanism of action remains unclear. In the present study, the attenuation of focal cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury by EA in rats was investigated. EA at the Baihui (DU 20) and Shenting (DU 24) acupoints was demonstrated to significantly improve performance in the Morris water maze task, with shortened latency time and increased frequency of passing the platform. Molecular analysis revealed that EA activated the expression of α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (α7nAChR) in the hippocampus. In addition, EA led to a decreased expression of the microglia/macrophage marker Iba1 and the astrocyte marker glial fibrillary acidic protein in the hippocampus. EA treatment also led to decreased production of the inflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-1β. Treatment with methyllycaconitine, an α7nAChR antagonist, attenuated the improvement of learning and memory following EA treatment and the inhibitory effects of EA on glial cell activation and inflammatory cytokine production. In conclusion, the findings of the present study demonstrate that EA is able to improve learning and memory function following cerebral ischemic injury via activation of α7nAChR, which significantly decreases the neuroinflammatory response.

KEYWORDS:

cerebral ischemia/reperfusion; cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway; electroacupuncture; α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor

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