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Electroacupuncture Pretreatment Elicits Neuroprotection Against Cerebral Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury in Rats Associated with Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid 1-Mediated Anti-Oxidant Stress and Anti-Inflammation

  • Man Long
  • Zhigang Wang
  • Dan Zheng
  • Jiaojiao Chen
  • Wenting Tao
  • Lei Wang
  • Nina YinEmail author
  • Zebin ChenEmail author


Electroacupuncture (EA) pretreatment, electrical stimulation using metal needle at specific acupoints in advance, possesses the potential to prevent cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury (CIRI). Transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV-1) has been indicated to take part in cerebral protection of EA; however, the detailed mechanisms remain unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate whether neuroprotection of EA pretreatment against CIRI is associated with TRPV-1 and explore the underlying mechanisms. Middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) was performed to induce CIRI after EA pretreatment at Baihui (GV20), bilateral Shenshu (BL23), and Sanyinjiao (SP6) acupoints in rats. Neurological deficit scores, infarct volumes, oxidative stress damage, inflammatory cytokine production, MAPK signaling activation, and the expression of TRPV-1 were assessed. EA pretreatment lowered neurological deficit scores, reduced infarct volumes, impeded oxidative stress injury, inhibited inflammatory cytokine production, curbed P38 phosphorylation, and suppressed TRPV-1 expression in MCAO rats. Attributing to inhibition of TRPV-1 expression, AMG-517 (TRPV-1 antagonist) showed the synergistic effect with EA pretreatment on the neuroprotection against ischemia-reperfusion injury. However, TRPV-1 agonists capsaicin significantly abrogated the neuroprotective effects of EA pretreatment in MCAO rats accompanying enhancement of TRPV-1 expression. These findings indicated EA pretreatment exerted neuroprotection in rats with cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury, which at least partially were associated with TRPV1-mediated anti-oxidant stress and anti-inflammation via inhibiting P38 MAPK activation.


acupuncture stroke oxidative stress inflammation 


Authors’ Contributions

M.L., Z.G.W., N.N.Y., and Z.B.C. designed the study. M.L and Z.G.W. performed the experiments, analyzed the data, and wrote the manuscript. D.Z., W.T.T., and J.J.C contributed to the animal feeding and preparation of MCAO model. L.W. and N.N.Y. provided technical assistance of sample collection and results analysis for transmission electron microscope. N.N.Y. and Z.B.C revised the manuscript.

Funding Information

This work was supported by a grant from National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81574055).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Basic Medical SciencesHubei University of Chinese MedicineWuhanChina
  2. 2.Department of Pathogen Biology, School of Basic Medical SciencesHubei University of Chinese MedicineWuhanChina
  3. 3.Department of Anatomy, School of Basic Medical SciencesHubei University of Chinese MedicineWuhanChina
  4. 4.School of Laboratory MedicineHubei University of Chinese MedicineWuhanChina
  5. 5.Hubei Provincial Collaborative Innovation Center of Preventive Treatment by Acupuncture and MoxibustionHubei University of Chinese MedicineWuhanChina

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