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Effects of acupuncture on cortical expression of Wnt3a, β-catenin and Sox2 in a rat model of traumatic brain injury
  1. Zhang Yi-min1,
  2. Dai Qiu-fu1,
  3. Chen Wei-hao1,
  4. Jiang Shu-ting1,
  5. Chen Sheng-xin1,
  6. Zhang Yu-juan1,
  7. Tang Chun-zhi2,
  8. Cheng Shao-bing1
  1. 1Traditional Chinese Medicine Department, Medical College, Jinan University, Guangzhou, China
  2. 2Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, China
  1. Correspondence to Dai Qiu-fu, School of Medicine, Jinan University, 601 Huangpu Avenue West, Guangzhou 510632, China; 826090701{at}


Objective To observe the effects of acupuncture treatment on the expression of Wnt/β-catenin signalling pathway-related genes (Wnt3a, β-catenin and Sox2) in the injured cerebral cortex of rats with traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Methods A controlled impact model of TBI was established using Feeney's free-drop method. Seventy-eight Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into the following three groups: a normal group (n=18) that was left untreated; a model group (n=30) that received no treatment after TBI; and an acupuncture group (n=30) that received acupuncture (at LI4, GV20, GV26 and GV16) after TBI. Rats in each group were randomly and equally divided into 3-day, 7-day and 14-day subgroups according to the duration of therapy. Real-time fluorescence quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) was used to measure mRNA expression of Wnt3a, β-catenin and Sox2. Western blots were performed to determine the expression levels of WNT3a, β-Catenin and SOX2.

Results Wnt3a mRNA was upregulated in the 7-day and 14-day acupuncture subgroups compared with the corresponding model subgroups (p<0.05). β-catenin expression was significantly increased in the 7-day and 14-day acupuncture subgroups compared with the corresponding model subgroups (p<0.01). In the 3-day and 7-day acupuncture subgroups, Sox2 expression was significantly higher than that in the normal and model groups (p<0.01 each). The levels of WNT3a, β-catenin and SOX2 were generally consistent with the corresponding mRNA levels.

Conclusions Acupuncture exerts a regulatory effect on the Wnt/β-catenin signalling pathway, which may in turn influence the proliferation and differentiation of endogenous neural stem cells.


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