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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(11), 2270; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18112270

Mechanisms of Acupuncture Therapy in Ischemic Stroke Rehabilitation: A Literature Review of Basic Studies

1
Graduate Institute of Acupuncture Science, China Medical University, Taichung 40402, Taiwan
2
Department of Pharmacology and Institute of Medicine, College of Medicine, Chung Shan Medical University, Taichung 40402, Taiwan
3
School of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung 40402, Taiwan
4
Department of Acupuncture, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung 40402, Taiwan
5
Research Center for Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, China Medical University, Taichung 40402, Taiwan
6
Department of Photonics and Communication Engineering, Asia University, Taichung 41354, Taiwan
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 September 2017 / Revised: 8 October 2017 / Accepted: 24 October 2017 / Published: 28 October 2017
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Abstract

Acupuncture is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an alternative and complementary strategy for stroke treatment and for improving stroke care. Clinical trial and meta-analysis findings have demonstrated the efficacy of acupuncture in improving balance function, reducing spasticity, and increasing muscle strength and general well-being post-stroke. The mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of acupuncture in stroke rehabilitation remain unclear. The aim of this study was to conduct a literature review, summarize the current known mechanisms in ischemic stroke rehabilitation through acupuncture and electroacupuncture (EA) therapy, and to detail the frequently used acupoints implicated in these effects. The evidence in this review indicates that five major different mechanisms are involved in the beneficial effects of acupuncture/EA on ischemic stroke rehabilitation: (1) Promotion of neurogenesis and cell proliferation in the central nervous system (CNS); (2) Regulation of cerebral blood flow in the ischemic area; (3) Anti-apoptosis in the ischemic area; (4) Regulation of neurochemicals; and, (5) Improvement of impaired long-term potentiation (LTP) and memory after stroke. The most frequently used acupoints in basic studies include Baihui (GV20), Zusanli (ST36), Quchi (LI11), Shuigou (GV26), Dazhui (GV14), and Hegu (LI4). Our findings show that acupuncture exerts a beneficial effect on ischemic stroke through modulation of different mechanisms originating in the CNS. View Full-Text
Keywords: acupuncture; cerebral ischemia; basic research; stroke; rehabilitation acupuncture; cerebral ischemia; basic research; stroke; rehabilitation
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Chavez, L.M.; Huang, S.-S.; MacDonald, I.; Lin, J.-G.; Lee, Y.-C.; Chen, Y.-H. Mechanisms of Acupuncture Therapy in Ischemic Stroke Rehabilitation: A Literature Review of Basic Studies. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18, 2270.

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