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RESEARCH ARTICLE
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 12  |  Page : 2004-2011

Electroacupuncture at Dazhui (GV14) and Mingmen (GV4) protects against spinal cord injury: the role of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway


1 School of Acupuncture-Moxibustion and Tuina, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China
2 Department of Rehabilitation, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China
3 Treatment Center of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Beijing Bo'ai Hospital, Chinese Rehabilitation Research Center, School of Rehabilitation Medicine, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China
4 Department of Rehabilitation, The Third People's Hospital of Shenzhen, Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China
5 Institute of Microcirculation, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China

Correspondence Address:
Li-na Qin
Department of Rehabilitation, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing
China
Zhi-gang Li
School of Acupuncture-Moxibustion and Tuina, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing
China
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Source of Support: This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 81373728., Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1673-5374.197145

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Electroacupuncture at Dazhui (GV14) and Mingmen (GV4) on the Governor Vessel has been shown to exhibit curative effects on spinal cord injury; however, the underlying mechanism remains poorly understood. In this study, we established rat models of spinal cord injury using a modified Allen's weight-drop method. Ninety-nine male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into three equal groups: sham (only laminectomy), SCI (induction of spinal cord injury at T10), and EA (induction of spinal cord injury at T10 and electroacupuncture intervention at GV14 and GV4 for 20 minutes once a day). Rats in the SCI and EA groups were further randomly divided into the following subgroups: 1-day (n = 11), 7-day (n = 11), and 14-day (n = 11). At 1, 7, and 14 days after electroacupuncture treatment, the Basso, Beattie and Bresnahan locomotor rating scale showed obvious improvement in rat hind limb locomotor function, hematoxylin-eosin staining showed that the histological change of injured spinal cord tissue was obviously alleviated, and immunohistochemistry and western blot analysis showed that Wnt1, Wnt3a, β-catenin immunoreactivity and protein expression in the injured spinal cord tissue were greatly increased compared with the sham and SCI groups. These findings suggest that electroacupuncture at GV14 and GV4 upregulates Wnt1, Wnt3a, and β-catenin expression in the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, exhibiting neuroprotective effects against spinal cord injury.


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