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Electro-Acupuncture Improves Survival and Migration of Transplanted Neural Stem Cells in Injured Spinal Cord in Rats

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This study investigated whether electro-acupuncture (EA) would improve the survival and migration of neural stem cells (NSCs) transplanted in injured spinal cord as well as the potential mechanisms. T10 spinal cord segments of 50 adult Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats were completely transected, and then NSCs were immediately transplanted into the transected site of the experimental animals, while control animals were sham operated without transplantation. Five days post-operation, electro-acupuncture treatment on GV9 (Zhiyang), GV6 (Jizhong), GV2 (Yaoshu) and GV1 (Changqiang) acupoints was applied for 14 days (EA+NSCs 14d) and 30 days (EA+NSCs 30d). ELISA and immunohistochemical staining were used to assess the content of neurotrophine-3 (NT-3) and the characteristics of transplanted NSCs. We found that the number of transplanted NSCs the survived in EA+NSCsl4d group was significantly increased as compared to that of the NSCs30d group (5825.20 ± 819.01 vs 4781.40 ± 500.49, P<0.05). Immunostaining indicated that some transplanted NSCs developed into microtubule association protein 2 (MAP2) positive cells and many of them developed into glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) positive cells in the NSCs30d group. Further, the migration length of transplanted NSCs toward caudal tissue in the injured site was longer in the EA+NSCs30d group than that in NSCs30d group (5.98±0.79 mm vs 3.96±1.72 mm; P<0.05). Also NT-3 in injured spinal cord tissue was 23% increased in the EA+NSCs14d group. These results suggest that the combination of EA and NSCs improves the survival and migration of NSCs in injured spinal cord in rats.
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Keywords: Electro-acupuncture; Nerotrophine-3; Neural stem cells; Spinal cord injury; Stem cell transplant; cell migratoiy orientation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Division of Neuroscience, Department of Histology and Embryology, Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University, Guanzhou, China. 2: Department of Acupuncture of the 1st Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guanzhou, China. 3: Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri, USA.

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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