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25 June 2019 : Animal Research  

Electroacupuncture Alleviates Ischemic Brain Injury by Inhibiting the miR-223/NLRP3 Pathway

Rong Sha1BEF, Bo Zhang2BCF, Xiaohua Han1DEG, Jiaojiao Peng1BC, Caixia Zheng1BCD, Fengxia Zhang1BF, Xiaolin Huang1AFG*

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.917213

Med Sci Monit 2019; 25:4723-4733


BACKGROUND: Electroacupuncture (EA) has been commonly used to treat stroke in China. However, the underlying mechanism remains largely unknown. The present study investigated the neuroprotective effects of EA in middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) rats and elucidated the possible anti-inflammatory mechanisms.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: In this study, modified neurological severity scoring (mNSS) was used to assess neurological deficits, and TTC staining and brain water content were measured to evaluate the degree of brain damage. HE staining, Nissl staining, and TUNEL staining were employed to evaluate apoptotic neuronal death. Molecular biological methods were used to measure the levels of miR-233, NLRP3, caspase-1, IL-1β, and IL-18 in the peri-infarct cortex.

RESULTS: Our results showed that EA treatment significantly decreased the neurological deficit score and infarct volume of MCAO rats. The level of miR-223 was increased, while the levels of NLRP3, caspase-1, IL-1β, and IL-18 were decreased in the peri-infarct cortex of EA-treated MCAO rats. However, the neuroprotective effect of EA was partially blocked by antagomir-223.

CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that EA treatment can alleviate neuroinflammation by inhibiting the miR-223/NLRP3 pathway, thus playing a neuroprotective role in MCAO in rats.

Keywords: Brain Ischemia, Electroacupuncture, neurogenic inflammation, Acupuncture Points, Brain, Brain Injuries, Cerebral Cortex, Infarction, Middle Cerebral Artery, NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein, neuroprotection, Neuroprotective Agents, Stroke

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Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750
Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750