Electroacupuncture Acutely Improves Cerebral Blood Flow and Attenuates Moderate Ischemic Injury via an Endothelial Mechanism in Mice

Kim, Ji Hyun; Choi, Kyung Ha; Jang, Young Jung; Bae, Sun Sik; Shin, Byung-Cheul; Choi, Byung Tae; Shin, Hwa Kyoung
February 2013
PLoS ONE;Feb2013, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
Electroacupuncture (EA) is a novel therapy based on traditional acupuncture combined with modern eletrotherapy that is currently being investigated as a treatment for acute ischemic stroke. Here, we studied whether acute EA stimulation improves tissue and functional outcome following experimentally induced cerebral ischemia in mice. We hypothesized that endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS)-mediated perfusion augmentation was related to the beneficial effects of EA by interventions in acute ischemic injury. EA stimulation at Baihui (GV20) and Dazhui (GV14) increased cerebral perfusion in the cerebral cortex, which was suppressed in eNOS KO, but there was no mean arterial blood pressure (MABP) response. The increased perfusion elicited by EA were completely abolished by a muscarinic acetylcholine receptor (mAChR) blocker (atropine), but not a β-adrenergic receptor blocker (propranolol), an α-adrenergic receptor blocker (phentolamine), or a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) blocker (mecamylamine). In addition, EA increased acetylcholine (ACh) release and mAChR M3 expression in the cerebral cortex. Acute EA stimulation after occlusion significantly reduced infarct volume by 34.5% when compared to a control group of mice at 24 h after 60 min-middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) (moderate ischemic injury), but not 90-min MCAO (severe ischemic injury). Furthermore, the impact of EA on moderate ischemic injury was totally abolished in eNOS KO. Consistent with a smaller infarct size, acute EA stimulation led to prominent improvement of neurological function and vestibule-motor function. Our results suggest that acute EA stimulation after moderate focal cerebral ischemia, but not severe ischemia improves tissue and functional recovery and ACh/eNOS-mediated perfusion augmentation might be related to these beneficial effects of EA by interventions in acute ischemic injury.


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