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Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine ›› 2006, Vol. 4 ›› Issue (4): 374-377.doi: 10.3736/jcim20060411

• Original Experimental Research • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Neuroprotective effect of electroacupuncture therapy on damaged cholinergic neurons in rats with Alzheimer's disease

Yong Tang1,2, Shu-guang Yu2, Song Luo3, Ting Han4, Hai-yan Yin2   

  1. 1. Department of Biomedical Engineering, West China Center of Medical Science, Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan Province 610041, China
    2. Department of Experimental Acupuncture, Acupuncture & Tuina College, Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chengdu, Sichuan Province 610075, China
  • Online:2006-07-31 Published:2006-07-15


To explore the neuroprotective effect of electroacupuncture therapy on damaged cholinergic neurons in hippocampus in aged rats with Alzheimer's disease (AD).


Thirty six aged male rats were randomly divided into normal control group, sham-operated group, untreated group and electroacupuncture group. Animal model of AD was established with fimbria-fornix transection. The rats in the electroacupuncture group received electroacupuncture on Baihui (DU 20), Yongquan (KI 1), Taixi (KI 3) and Xuehai (SP10). The activity of choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) in septal area of brain was detected by radioimmunoassay, and the protein expressions of nerve growth factor (NGF) and c-fos in CA3 region of hippocampus were detected by immunohistochemical assay.


The ChAT activity and the expression levels of NGF and c-fos proteins in the electroacupuncture group were significantly higher than those in the untreated group.


Electroacupuncture therapy can protect cholinergic neurons in hippocampus in aged rats with AD by means of promoting synthesis of c-fos protein and increasing the expression level of NGF.

Key words: Alzheimer’s disease, Nerve growth factor, c-fos, Neuroprotection, Electroacupuncture

CLC Number: 

  • R246.6

Table 1

Effects of electroacupuncture on ChAT activity ptal area of brain in rats with AD(ヌ±S, ng/L)"

Group n ChAT
Normal control 9 37.64±5.34**
Sham-operated 9 36.81±3.79**
Untreated 9 28.00±2.66
Electroacupuncture 9 34.56±2.85*

Table 2

Effects of electroacupuncture on NGF expression in CA3 region of hippocampus in rats with AD (ヌ±S )"

Group n Summation of optical density (×106) Area summation (×104) Mean grey value
Normal control 9 24.26±1.14** 13.03±4.38** 103.74±9.60**
Sham-operated 9 24.21±3.56** 13.09±1.90** 103.82±19.14**
Untreated 9 2.75±0.63 3.79±1.24 32.42±5.77
Electroacupuncture 9 21.42±2.43** 9.79±0.92** 93.50±6.92**

Table 3

Effects of electroacupuncture on c-fos protein expression in CA3 region of hippocampus in rats with AD(ヌ±S )"

Group n Summation of optical density (×106) Area summation (×104) Mean grey value
Normal control 9 37.29±5.20**△△ 32.40±2.76**△△ 32.11±4.40**△△
Sham-operated 9 36.87±6.23**△△ 32.76±5.07**△△ 32.45±3.79**△△
Untreated 9 88.15±6.22 81.50±5.15 70.49±5.48
Electroacupuncture 9 121.69±30.42** 101.29±12.09** 98.34±7.26**
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