Effect of electroacupuncture on glial fibrillary acidic protein expression at the injured site in a rat model of spinal cord injury
Tang Fuyu1, Zhou Binbin2, Wei Weibing1, Zhang Hongsheng3
1Liuzhou Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital (Liuzhou Zhuang Medical Hospital), Liuzhou 545000, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China; 2the First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi University of Chinese Medicine, Nanning 543000, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China; 3Ruikang Hospital Affiliated to Guangxi University of Chinese Medicine, Nanning 543000, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Glial fibrillary acidic protein is an intermediate filament overexpression protein, which is the most commonly used specific marker protein for astrocytes. Traditional Chinese medicine has a long history of treating spinal cord injury. Numerous studies have shown that acupuncture at Du Meridian and Stomach Meridian of Foot-Yangming has a certain therapeutic effect on nerve regeneration and repair after spinal cord injury.
OBJECTIVE: To observe the changes in the expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein in the injured part of spinal cord injury rats after electroacupuncture stimulation, and to further investigate the effect of electroacupuncture on nerve regeneration in rats with spinal cord injury.
METHODS: A total of 120 Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into 5 groups (n=24 per groups): a Du Meridian electroacupuncture group, a Stomach Meridian of Foot-Yangming electroacupuncture group, a mixed electroacupuncture group, a model control group, and a sham operation group. T10 spinal cord hemisection models were prepared in all the groups except for the sham operation group. After modeling, each group was randomly subdivided into four subgroups (n=6 per group): a 3-day group, a 7-day group, a 14-day group, and a 21-day group. The sham operation group and the model control group were not given an intervention, and the three electroacupuncture groups were given a corresponding electroacupuncture intervention. Immunohistochemical staining was used to detect the expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein positive cells in the injured area. PCR and western blot were used to detect the mRNA and protein expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: Compared with the sham operation group, the expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein after injury was increased first and then decreased significantly in the model control group (P < 0.05). Compared with the model control group, the expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein was significantly reduced in the Du Meridian electroacupuncture group and the Stomach Meridian of Foot-Yangming electroacupuncture group (P < 0.05). The expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein in the mixed electroacupuncture group was lower than that in the Du Meridian electroacupuncture group and the Stomach Meridian of Foot-Yangming electroacupuncture group, but there was no significant difference (P > 0.05). To conclude, electroacupuncture stimulation can reduce the expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein and astrocytes in the injured area, thereby inhibiting the formation of glial scars.
Key words: electroacupuncture stimulation, spinal cord injury, glial fibrillary acidic protein, Du Meridian, Stomach Meridian, nerve regeneration