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Adv Exp Med Biol. 2020;1232:401-408. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-34461-0_51.

Acupuncture Inhibits the Increase in Alpha-Synuclein in Substantia Nigra in an MPTP- Induced Parkinsonism Mouse Model.

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College of Korean Medicine, Sang Ji University, Wonju, Republic of Korea.
College of Korean Medicine, Sang Ji University, Wonju, Republic of Korea.
Department of Meridian & Acupoint, College of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.


Parkinson's disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disease, is caused by the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra (SN). It is characterized by the formation of intracytoplasmic Lewy bodies that are primarily composed of the protein alpha-synuclein (α-syn), along with dystrophic neurites. Acupuncture stimulation results in an enhanced survival of dopaminergic neurons in the SN in Parkinsonism animal models. We investigated the role of acupuncture in inhibiting the increase in α-syn expression that is related to dopaminergic cell loss in the SN in a chronic 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) Parkinsonism mouse model. In this model, acupuncture stimulation at GB34 and LR3 attenuated the decrease in tyrosine hydroxylase in the SN. Moreover, acupuncture stimulation attenuated the increase in α-syn in SN. Acupuncture stimulation also maintained the phosphorylated α-syn on serine 129 at levels similar to the control group. Our findings indicate that the MPTP-mediated increase in α-syn, and the acupuncture-mediated inhibition of the increase in α-syn, may be responsible for the neuroprotective effects of acupuncture in the SN following damage induced by MPTP.


Acupuncture; Alpha-synuclein; GB34; LR3; Parkinson’s disease

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