Electroacupuncture Inhibits Apoptosis of Peri-Ischemic Regions via Modulating p38, Extracellular Signal-Regulated Kinase (ERK1/2), and c-Jun N Terminal Kinases (JNK) in Cerebral Ischemia-Reperfusion-Injured Rats
Jiao Liu, Qin Wang, Shanli Yang, Jia Huang, Xiaodong Feng, Jun Peng, Zhengkun Lin, Weilin Liu, Jing Tao, Lidian Chen
College of Rehabilitation Medicine, Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Fuzhou, Fujian, China (mainland)
Med Sci Monit 2018; 24: ANS4395-4404
Available online: 2018-06-26
Previous studies suggested that inhibition of apoptosis prevents the dysfunction of ischemia-reperfusion injury. In the pathogenesis of ischemia-reperfusion injury, JNK/ERK1/2 and p38 play an essential role in regulation of cell apoptosis. Electroacupuncture (EA), a form of acupuncture, has demonstrated superiority in preventing ischemia-reperfusion injury, but the underlying mechanism is unclear. In the present study, we explored the effects of electroacupuncture at Shenting (GV24) and Baihui (GV20) acupoints on focal cerebral ischemia-reperfusion (MCAO) rats, and explored whether JNK/ERK1/2- and p38-mediated cell apoptosis are involved.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: The rats were divided into a sham operation control group, an ischemia group, and an electroacupuncture group with acupuncture applied for 10 days (30 min per day). TTC staining was used to calculate the ischemic brain volume. TUNEL staining and transmission electron microscopy were used to detect cell apoptosis. Western blot analysis and Bio-Plex were used to detect JNK, p38, ERK1/2, Bcl-2, and Bax protein expression.
RESULTS: We found that electroacupuncture at day 10 significantly reduced cerebral infarction. In addition, electroacupuncture suppressed activation of JNK and p38, while enhancing the activation of ERK1/2 in the peri-ischemic regions. Consequently, the effect of electroacupuncture on these pathways resulted in the inhibition of apoptosis, which was demonstrated by TUNEL and transmission electron microscopy. We found that electroacupuncture upregulated the anti-apoptotic Bcl-2/Bax ratio in peri-ischemic regions.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that inhibition of cell apoptosis via regulating multiple signaling pathways might be a mechanism whereby electroacupuncture has a positive therapeutic effect on post-stroke impairment.
Keywords: Acupuncture, Stroke