Search JIM Advanced Search

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**
[1] 盛树力 . 老年性痴呆发病机理与药物研究(第1版)[M]. 北京: 科学技术文献出版社, 2003,( 第1版):123-145
[2] 黄诚, 陈汉平 . 针灸治疗老年性痴呆概况[J]. 中国针灸, 1997,17(1):61-63
[3] 罗玳红, 唐文志, 赖新生 . 电针对老年性痴呆模型大鼠学习记忆影响的实验研究[J]. 新中医, 2003,35(11):77-78
[4] 刘雨星, 梁繁荣, 余曙光 , 等. 电针对穹隆海马伞损伤老年性痴呆大鼠学习记忆行为影响的实验研究[J]. 中国康复医学杂志, 2004,19(3):188-190
[5] He Y, Yao Z, Gu Y , et al. Nerve growth factor promotes collateral sprouting of cholinergic fibers in the septohippocampal cholinergic system of aged rats with fimbria transection[J]. Brain Res, 1992,586(1):27-35
[6] 于船 . 中国兽医针灸学(第1版)[M]. 北京: 农业出版社, 1984,( 第1版):212
[7] 刘畅, 王哲, 张昱 . 阿尔茨海默病的胆碱能损害机制[J]. 中风与神经疾病杂志, 2003,20(1):89-91
doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1003-2754.2003.01.044
[8] DeKosky ST, Ikonomovic MD, Styren SD , et al. Upregulation of choline acetyltransferase activity in hippocampus and frontal cortex of elderly subjects with mild cognitive impairment[J]. Ann Neurol, 2002,51(2):145-155
[9] Connor B, Dragunow M . The role of neuronal growth factors in neurodegenerative disorders of the human brain[J]. Brain Res Brain Res Rev, 1998,27(1):31-39
doi: 10.1016/S0165-0173(98)00004-6 pmid: 9639663
[10] Yuen EC, Howe CL, Li Y , et al. Nerve growth factor and the neurotrophic factor hypojournal[J]. Brain Dev, 1996,18(5):362-368
[11] 鞠躬 . 神经生物学(第1版)[M]. 北京: 人民卫生出版社, 2004,( 第1版):232-250
[12] Mobley WC, Rutkowski JL, Tennekoon GI , et al. Choline acetyltransferase activity in striatum of neonatal rats increased by nerve growth factor[J]. Science, 1985,229(4170):284-287
[13] 骆仲达, 骆仲逵, 许能贵 , 等. 电针对局灶性脑缺血大鼠神经细胞凋亡及神经生长因子的影响[J]. 中国临床康复, 2004,8(7):1382-1383
[14] 陈正君, 余茜, 李晓红 , 等. 电针对大鼠坐骨神经损伤后神经生长因子表达的影响[J]. 中国临床康复, 2004,8(16):3084-3085
doi: 10.3321/j.issn:1673-8225.2004.16.060
[1] Xiang-yu Wei, Shi-lei Luo, HuiChen, Shan-shan Liu, Zhi-gang Gong, Song-huaZhan. Functional connectivity changes during migraine treatment with electroacupuncture at Shuaigu (GB8). Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2022, 20(3): 237-243.
[2] Zhe-yu Zhang, Chun-hu Zhang, Jing-jing Yang, Pan-pan Xu, Peng-ji Yi, Mu-li Hu, Wen-jun Peng. Genome-wide analysis of hippocampal transfer RNA-derived small RNAs identifies new potential therapeutic targets of Bushen Tiansui formula against Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2021, 19(2): 135-143.
[3] Meng-yue Liu, Cheng-wei Wang, Zhou-peng Wu, Ning Li. Electroacupuncture for the prevention of postoperative gastrointestinal dysfunction in patients undergoing vascular surgery under general anesthesia: Study protocol for a prospective practical randomized controlled trial. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2014, 12(6): 512-519.
[4] Xin-fang Zhang, Ji Zhu, Wen-ye Geng, Shu-jun Zhao, Chuan-wei Jiang, Sheng-rong Cai, Miao Cheng, Chuan-yun Zhou, Zi-bing Liu. Electroacupuncture at Feishu (BL13) and Zusanli (ST36) down-regulates the expression of orexins and their receptors in rats with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2014, 12(5): 417-424.
[5] Xue-song Mi, Jing-xiang Zhong, Raymond Chuen-Chung Chang, Kwok-Fai So. Research advances on the usage of traditional Chinese medicine for neuroprotection in glaucoma. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2013, 11(4): 233-240.
[6] Wen-ye Geng, Zi-bing Liu, Na-na Song, Gui-hong Zhang, Wei-zhong Jin, Wang Zhou, Li Li, Yin-xiang Cao, Da-nian Zhu, Lin-lin Shen. Effects of electroacupuncture at Zusanli (ST36) on inflammatory cytokines in a rat model of smoke-induced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2013, 11(3): 213-219.
[7] Meng Li, Ling Hu, Rong-lin Cai, Zi-jian Wu, Ke-ming Wang. Effects of electro-acupuncture at PC6 and BL15 on nerve electrical activity in spinal dorsal root and norepinephrine and dopamine contents in paraventricular nucleus of hypothalamus in rats with acute myocardial ischemia. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2012, 10(8): 874-879.
[8] De-bo Qi, Wei-min Li. Effects of electroacupuncture on expression of c-fos protein and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor 1 in the rostral ventromedia medulla of rats with chronic visceral hyperalgesia. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2012, 10(4): 416-423.
[9] De-bo Qi, Wei-min Li. Effects of electroacupuncture on expression of c-fos protein in the spinal dorsal horn of rats with chronic visceral hyperalgesia. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2012, 10(12): 1490-1496.
[10] Qi-ming Xue, Lu Huang, Ning Li. Effects of electroacupuncture at Tianshu (ST25) on pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines in rats with severe acute pancreatitis. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2011, 9(6): 658-664.
[11] Ying-ru Chen, Hong-wen Yuan, Fu-zheng Shu, Xiao-xuan Ren, Liang-xiao Ma, Ren-quan Liu, Jiang Zhu. Effects of electroacupuncture at points of a traditional acupuncture formula that induces labor with different parameters on uterine contractility in late-stage pregnant rats. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2011, 9(1): 91-99.
[12] Zhi-jun Wang , Wei-min Li. Effects of electroacupuncture on disorder of intestinal motility in a rat model of irritable bowel syndrome. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2010, 8(9): 883-887.
[13] Jun Li, Bin Li, Wen-jiang Zhou, Fan-gui Zhao, Da-jin Li, Wen-jun Wang. Medicated rat serum containing Gengnianchun decoction reduces apoptosis of pheochromocytoma cells insulted by amyloid beta protein. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2010, 8(5): 472-479.
[14] Wen-jun Wang, Da-jin Li, Jun Li, Wen-jiang Zhou. An in vitro study on neuroprotective effects of serum containing Gengnianchun decoction and its main monomers against amyloid beta protein-induced cellular toxicity. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2010, 8(1): 67-73.
[15] Le Kuai, Ru-feng Jin, Ming Gao, Hua-yuan Yang. Fuzzy cluster analysis of therapeutic effects of electro-acupuncture at different parameters. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2009, 7(5): 478-481.
Full text



[1] Wei-xiong Liang. Problems-solving strategies in clinical treatment guideline for traditional Chinese medicine and integrative medicine. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 1-4
[2] Zhao-guo Li. Discussion on English translation of commonly used sentences in traditional Chinese medicine: part one. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 107-110
[3] Jun Hu, Jian-ping Liu. Non-invasive physical treatments for chronic/recurrent headache. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 31
[4] Xue-mei Liu, Qi-fu Huang, Yun-ling Zhang, Jin-li Lou, Hong-sheng Liu, Hong Zheng. Effects of Tribulus terrestris L. saponion on apoptosis of cortical neurons induced by hypoxia-reoxygenation in rats. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 45-50
[5] . Uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals: Writing and editing for biomedical publication (Chinese version, part two). Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2010, 8(11): 1001-1005
[6] Daniel Weber, Janelle M Wheat, Geoffrey M Currie. Inflammation and cancer: Tumor initiation, progression and metastasis,and Chinese botanical medicines. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2010, 8(11): 1006-1013
[7] Hong Liu , Guo-liang Zhang, Li Shen , Zhen Zeng, Bao-luo Zhou, Cheng-hai Liu, Guang Nie . Application and evaluation of a pseudotyped virus assay for screening herbs for anti-H5Nl avian influenza virus. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2010, 8(11): 1036-1040
[8] Zhao-guo Li . A discussion of English translation of 1995 and 1997 Chinese National Standards of Traditional Chinese Medical Terminologies for Clinical Diagnosis and Treatment. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2010, 8(11): 1090-1096
[9] Rui Jin, Bing Zhang. A complexity analysis of Chinese herbal property theory: the multiple formations of herbal property (Part 1). Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2012, 10(11): 1198-1205
[10] Hui-min Liu, Xian-bo Wang, Yu-juan Chang, Li-li Gu. Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of integrative medicine therapy for treatment of chronic severe hepatitis. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2012, 10(11): 1211-1228