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Electroacupuncture pretreatment attenuates bloodbrain barrier disruption following cerebral ischemia/reperfusion

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Disruption of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and subsequent brain edema are major contributors to the pathogenesis of ischemic stroke, however, current clinical therapeutic methods remains unsatisfactory. Electroacupuncture (EA) pretreatment has a protective effect against cerebral ischemia/reperfusion (I/R). However, the underlying mechanisms remain to be fully elucidated. In the present study, the effect of EA pretreatment on BBB disruption was investigated in a focal I/R rat model. Male SpragueDawley rats (280-320 g) were pretreated with EA at the acupoint ‘Baihui’ (GV20) 30 min/day, for five days consecutively prior to focal cerebral I/R, which was induced by middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) for 2 h. The results demonstrated that the infarction volume, brain water content and neurological deficits increased in the MCAO model rats at 3 h and 24 h post-reperfusion, and were attenuated significantly by EA pretreatment. Furthermore, electron microscopy examination confirmed a reduction in brain edema reduction in the EA pretreated rats. Western blot analysis revealed that the tight junction proteins between endothelial cells, including claudin5, occludin, were significantly degraded, while the protein expression of phosphorylated (p)caveolin1 and pAkt increased following reperfusion, all of which were alleviated by EA pretreatment. However, no significant differences were observed in the expression of caveolin1 or Akt. Overall, the results demonstrated that EA pretreatment significantly reduced BBB permeability and brain edema, which were correlated with alleviation of the degradation of tight junction proteins and inhibition of the expression of pcaveolin1 in the endothelial cells.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Anesthesiology, Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210029, P.R. China 2: First Clinical College, Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210029, P.R. China

Publication date: August 1, 2015

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  • Molecular Medicine Reports is a monthly, peer-reviewed journal available in print and online, that includes studies devoted to molecular medicine, underscoring aspects including pharmacology, pathology, genetics, neurosciences, infectious diseases, molecular cardiology and molecular surgery. In vitro and in vivo studies of experimental model systems pertaining to the mechanisms of a variety of diseases offer researchers the necessary tools and knowledge with which to aid the diagnosis and treatment of human diseases.
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