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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(9), 1846; doi:10.3390/ijms18091846

Electroacupuncture Promotes Recovery of Motor Function and Reduces Dopaminergic Neuron Degeneration in Rodent Models of Parkinson’s Disease

1
School of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung 40402, Taiwan
2
Graduate Institute of Integrated Medicine, College of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung 40402, Taiwan
3
Graduate Institute of Acupuncture Science, China Medical University, Taichung 40402, Taiwan
4
Department of Photonics and Communication Engineering, Asia University, Taichung 41354, Taiwan
5
Research Center for Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, China Medical University, Taichung 40402, Taiwan
6
Division of Colorectal Surgery, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung 40447, Taiwan
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 25 July 2017 / Revised: 17 August 2017 / Accepted: 18 August 2017 / Published: 24 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neuroprotective Strategies 2017)
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Abstract

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disease. The pathological hallmark of PD is a progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra (SN) pars compacta in the brain, ultimately resulting in severe striatal dopamine deficiency and the development of primary motor symptoms (e.g., resting tremor, bradykinesia) in PD. Acupuncture has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat PD for the control of tremor and pain. Accumulating evidence has shown that using electroacupuncture (EA) as a complementary therapy ameliorates motor symptoms of PD. However, the most appropriate timing for EA intervention and its effect on dopamine neuronal protection remain unclear. Thus, this study used the 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-lesioned mouse model (systemic-lesioned by intraperitoneal injection) and the 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+)-lesioned rat model (unilateral-lesioned by intra-SN infusion) of PD, to explore the therapeutic effects and mechanisms of EA at the GB34 (Yanglingquan) and LR3 (Taichong) acupoints. We found that EA increased the latency to fall from the accelerating rotarod and improved striatal dopamine levels in the MPTP studies. In the MPP+ studies, EA inhibited apomorphine induced rotational behavior and locomotor activity, and demonstrated neuroprotective effects via the activation of survival pathways of Akt and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the SN region. In conclusion, we observed that EA treatment reduces motor symptoms of PD and dopaminergic neurodegeneration in rodent models, whether EA is given as a pretreatment or after the initiation of disease symptoms. The results indicate that EA treatment may be an effective therapy for patients with PD. View Full-Text
Keywords: dopamine; electroacupuncture; motor function; neuroprotection; Parkinson’s disease dopamine; electroacupuncture; motor function; neuroprotection; Parkinson’s disease
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MDPI and ACS Style

Lin, J.-G.; Chen, C.-J.; Yang, H.-B.; Chen, Y.-H.; Hung, S.-Y. Electroacupuncture Promotes Recovery of Motor Function and Reduces Dopaminergic Neuron Degeneration in Rodent Models of Parkinson’s Disease. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18, 1846.

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