Long-term high-frequency electro-acupuncture stimulation prevents neuronal degeneration and up-regulates BDNF mRNA in the substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area following medial forebrain bundle axotomy

Xi-Bin Liang, Xian-Yu Liu, Feng-Qiao Li, Yong Luo, Jun Lu, Wang-Ming Zhang, Xiao-Min Wang, Ji-Sheng Han
Brain Research. Molecular Brain Research 2002, 108 (1): 51-9
Electroacupuncture (EA) has been used in China for many years to treat Parkinson's disease (PD) with reportedly effective results. However, the physiological and biological mechanism behind its effectiveness is still unknown. In the present study, different frequencies of chronic EA stimulation (0, 2, 100 Hz) were tested in a partially lesioned rat model of PD which was induced by transection of the medial forebrain bundle (MFB). After 24 sessions of EA stimulation (28 days after MFB transection), dopaminergic neurons in the ventral midbrain were examined by immunohistochemical staining, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mRNA levels in ventral midbrain were measured by in situ hybridization. The results show a marked decrease of dopaminergic neurons on the lesioned side of the substantia nigra (SN) comparing with the unlesioned side. Zero Hz and 2 Hz EA stimulation had no effect on the disappearance of dopaminergic neurons. However, after 100 Hz EA, about 60% of the tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive neurons remained on the lesioned side of the SN. In addition, levels of BDNF mRNA in the SN and ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the lesioned side were significantly increased in the 100 Hz EA group, but unchanged in the 0 and 2 Hz groups. Our results suggest that long-term high-frequency EA is effective in halting the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the SN and up-regulating the levels of BDNF mRNA in the subfields of the ventral midbrain. Activation of endogenous neurotrophins by EA may be involved in the regeneration of the injured dopaminergic neurons, which may underlie the effectiveness of EA in the treatment of PD.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"