Electroacupuncture treatment improves neurological function associated with regulation of tight junction proteins in rats with cerebral ischemia reperfusion injury

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:989340. doi: 10.1155/2014/989340. Epub 2014 Jun 10.


Strategies to develop effective neuroprotective therapy to reduce brain damage and related behavioral deficits in stroke patients are of great significance. Electroacupuncture (EA), which derives from traditional Chinese medicine, may be effective as a complementary and alternative method for promoting recovery of neurological function and quality of life. Adult Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into 3 groups: (1) sham, (2) middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) model groups of 2 h MCAO followed by 1, 3, 5, or 7 d of reperfusion, and (3) EA groups of 2 h MCAO followed by 1, 3, 5, or 7 d of reperfusion. EA groups received EA therapy by needling at GV20 and left ST36. The results show that EA therapy improved the neurological function and reduced infarct volume, confirmed by modified neurological severity scores and TTC staining. Real-time PCR, immunohistochemistry, and western blot assay verified that EA upregulated the expression of tight junction (TJ) claudin-5, occludin, and zonula occluding-1 from 1 to 7 d after reperfusion. Our findings suggest that EA reduces brain damage and related behavioral deficits via upregulation of the TJ proteins.