Objective: To observe the influence of scalp acupuncture on levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-1β levels in patients with acute cerebral infarction (ACl), so as to investigate its mechanism underlying improvement of ACI.
Methods: A total of 61 patients with ACI were randomly allocated to scalp acupuncture group (n = 31) and control (medication) group (n = 30). The patients of the control group were routinely treated by administration of Aspirin, Danhong injection, Cytidine Diphosphate for neurotrophy, blood pressure-control and blood-fat lowering medicines, etc., while those of the scalp acupuncture group were treated by routine treatment with the medicines mentioned above plus daily scalp acupuncture stimulation of bilateral Dingnieqianxiexian [MS 6, penetrative needling from Qianding (GV 21) to Xuanli (GB 6)] and Dingniehouxiexian [MS 7, from Baihui (GV 20) to Qubin (GB 7)]. The treatment was conducted once daily for 7 days. Serum hs-CRP, TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-1β contents were assayed by using enzyme linked immunosorbnent assay (ELISA). The therapeutic effects of scalp acupuncture were evaluated by using clinical neurological disfunction scale (NDS, 0-45 points for consciousness, gazing, facial palsy, speech, myodynamia, walking-ability).
Results: (1) Of the 30 and 31 cases in the control and scalp acupuncture groups, 5 (16.7%) and 8 (25.8%) were basically controlled, 9 (30.0%) and 16 (51.6%) experienced remarkable improvement in their symptoms, 12 (40.0%) and 6 (19.4%) were improved, 4 (13.3%) and 1(3.2%) failed, with the effective rates being 86.7% and 96.8%, respectively. The increased levels of serum hs-CRP, TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-1β in ACl patients were reversed on the 3rd and 7th day after scalp acupuncture treatment (P < 0.05, P < 0.01). (2) A positive correlation existed between the NDS score and the serum levels of hs-CRP (r = 0.497, P < 0.01). (3) NDS scores were obviously decreased in both groups on the 7th day after the treatment compared with their baseline data (P < 0.05, P < 0.01).
Conclusion: Scalp acupuncture treatment can improve the ACI patients' clinical symptoms, probably by reducing ACl induced inflammatory reactions.