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Cerebral blood flow and apoptosis-associated factor with electroacupuncture in a traumatic brain injury rat model
  1. Chih Hsiang Chuang1,
  2. Yao Chin Hsu1,
  3. Che Chuan Wang2,
  4. ChoYa Hu2,
  5. Jinn Rung Kuo2,3
  1. 1Department of Chinese Medicine, Chi-Mei Medical Center, Tainan, Taiwan
  2. 2Department of Neurosurgery, Chi-Mei Medical Center, Tainan, Taiwan
  3. 3Department of Biotechnology, Southern Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Tainan, Taiwan
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jinn Rung Kuo, Department of Neurosurgery, Chi-Mei Medical Center, #901 Chung Hwa Road, Yung Kang City, Tainan 710, Taiwan; kuojinnrung{at}


Objective Electroacupuncture (EA) has been widely used for treatment of stroke, but there is little information on the effect of EA on the neuroprotective function in traumatic brain injury (TBI). The aim of the present study was to investigate the protective effects and mechanisms of EA treatment in a TBI rat model.

Methods Male Sprague–Dawley rats were randomly divided into four groups: sham operation, TBI control, TBI+EA treated for 30 min or TBI+EA treated for 60 min. The animals were treated with EA immediately after TBI. The EA was applied at acupuncture points GV20, GV26, LI4 and KI1 with a dense-dispersed wave, frequencies of 0.2 and 1 Hz, and amplitude of 1 mA for 30 or 60 min. Regional blood flow, cell infarction volume, extent of neuronal apoptosis, expression of cell apoptosis-associated factor transforming growth-interacting factor (TGIF) were studied, and functional outcome was assessed by running speed test. All tests except regional blood flow were performed 72 h after TBI onset.

Results Immediately after TBI, compared with the TBI control groups, the regional blood flow was significantly increased by EA treatment for 60 min. Compared with the TBI controls 72 h after TBI, the TBI-induced run speed impairment, infarction volume, neuronal apoptosis and apoptosis-associated TGIF expression were significantly improved by EA treatment.

Conclusions The treatment of TBI in the acute stage with EA for 60 min could increase the regional blood flow and attenuate the levels of TGIF in the injured cortex, might lead to a decrease in neuronal apoptosis and cell infarction volume, and might represent one mechanism by which functional recovery may occur.


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