To observe the influence of electroacupuncture (EA) of "Fengfu" (GV16) and "Taichong" (LR3) on morphological changes and apoptotic percentage of substantia nigra cells so as to explore its underlying mechanism in relieving Parkinson's disease.
Forty Wistar rats were randomly divided into normal control, sham-operation (sham), model and EA groups, with 10 rats in each. The Parkinson's disease model was established by micro-injection of 6-hydroxyl-dopamine (6-OHDA) into the right striatum. EA (2 Hz, 1 mA) was applied to "Fengfu"(GV16) and "Taichong" (LR3) for 30 min, once daily for 2 weeks. HE staining, Nissl staining and immunohistochemical staining were conducted for observing the morphological changes of substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) and striatum, and the tyrosine hydroxylase(TH) immuno-reaction (IR) positive neurons and nerve fibers. The apoptosis was detected by flow cytometry.
Compared to the normal control and sham groups, the total number of TH-IR positive neurons and Nissl-stained cells, and OD value of TH-IR positive nerve fibers in the SNc on the 6-OHDA-lesioned side were significantly lower in the model group (P < 0.01). Compared with the model group, the aforementioned 3 indexes of the EA group were increased obviously (P < 0.01). The percentage of apoptosis of SNc on the 6-OHDA-lesioned side was obviously lower in the EA group than in the model group (P < 0.01), but still obviously higher than in the normal group and sham group (P < 0.01).
Electroacupuncture therapy can significantly increase the number of neurons of substantia nigra and the density of striatum nerve fibers,and reduce the apoptotic percentage of substantia nigra cells in the Parkinsonian rats, which may contribute to its effect in relieving Parkinson's disease.