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International journal of molecular medicine

Electro-acupuncture exerts beneficial effects against cerebral ischemia and promotes the proliferation of neural progenitor cells in the cortical peri-infarct area through the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway.


PMID 26329606

Abstract

Electro-acupuncture (EA) is a novel therapy based on combining traditional acupuncture with modern electrotherapy, and it is currently being investigated as a treatment for ischemic stroke. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the mechanisms through which EA regulates the proliferation of neural progenitor cells (NPCs) in the cortical peri‑infarct area after stroke. The neuroprotective effects of EA on ischemic rats were evaluated by determining the neurological deficit scores and cerebral infarct volumes. The proliferation of the NPCs and the activation of the Wnt/β‑catenin signaling pathway in the cortical peri‑infarct area were examined. Our results revealed that EA significantly alleviated neurological deficits, reduced the infarct volume and enhanced NPC proliferation [nestin/glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)‑double positive] in the cortex of rats subjected to middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO). Moreover, the Wnt1 and β‑catenin mRNA and protein levels were increased, while glycogen synthase kinase‑3 (GSK3) transcription was suppressed by EA. These results suggest that the upregulatory effects of EA on the Wnt/β‑catenin signaling pathway may promote NPC proliferation in the cortical peri-infarct area after stroke, consequently providing a therapeutic effect against cerebral ischemia.

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