Electroacupuncture at ST36 Increases Bone Marrow-Derived Interstitial Cells of Cajal via the SDF-1/CXCR4 and mSCF/Kit-ETV1 Pathways in the Stomach of Diabetic Mice

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2018 Jan 23;2018:7878053. doi: 10.1155/2018/7878053. eCollection 2018.


Background: The loss of interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) is observed in diabetic gastroparesis. Electroacupuncture (EA) maintains ICC networks, but the effects and mechanisms of EA on ICC of bone marrow derivation in the stomach have not been investigated.

Methods: C57BL/6 mice were randomized into six groups: control, diabetic (DM), bone marrow transplantation (BMT) + DM, BMT + DM + sham EA (SEA), BMT + DM + low-frequency EA (LEA), and BMT + DM + high-frequency (HEA). c-Kit+GFP+ cells in the stomach were detected by immunofluorescence staining. Western blotting and qRT-PCR were employed to determine c-Kit, GFP, SDF-1, CXCR4, mSCF, pERK, and ETV1 expression.

Results: (1) c-Kit+GFP+ cells were elevated in the BMT + DM + LEA and HEA groups. (2) The mRNA and protein levels of GFP, SDF-1, and CXCR4 were increased in the BMT + DM + LEA and BMT + DM + HEA groups. (3) The mRNA and protein levels of mSCF, c-Kit, pERK, and ETV1 were significantly reduced in the DM group but markedly elevated in the BMT + DM + LEA and HEA groups.

Conclusion: EA at ST36 increases bone marrow-derived ICC in the stomach of diabetic mice via the SDF-1/CXCR4 and mSCF/c-Kit-ETV1 pathways.