To observe the effect of electroacupuncture (EA) on superoxide (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) activity, contents of glutathione (GSH) and malondiadehyde (MDA), and expression of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and apoptosis of Dopaminergic (DA) neurons in Substantia Nigra of rats with Parkinson's disease (PD).
Adult male Wistar rats were randomly divided into normal (10 rats), model (11 rats), EA (11 rats) and medication (11 rats) groups. The PD model was established by i.h. of Rotenone (0.8 mg/kg) for 28 days. EA stimulation (2 Hz/80 Hz, 2 mA) was applied at "Baihui" (GV 20), "Sanyinjiao" (SP 6) and "Taichong" (LR 3) acupoints for 10 min, once per day for 14 times. For rats in the medication group, Madopar suspension fluid (1.67 mg/kg) was given by gavage for 14 days. Xanthine oxidase method and colorimetric ana- lysis method were used to examine the SOD, GSH-Px activity and contents of GSH and MDA in the Substantia Nigra tissue of the right brain, respectively. Immunohistochemical technique was used to detect the TH positive neurons and TUNEL method was used to examine the apoptosis of DA neurons of the Substantia Nigra in the left brain.
Following the intervention, the decreased SOD and GSH-Px activity, GSH contents, and the increased MDA content of the Substantia Nigra in PD rats were obviously reversed by EA intervention (P < 0.05) but not by medication except MDA content (P > 0.05). In comparison with the model group, the decreased TH immunoactivity, and the increased numbers of apoptotic cells of DA neurons were apparently suppressed in both EA and medication groups (P < 0.05), but without significant differences between the EA and the medication groups (P > 0.05). In addition, HE stain showed that EA intervention could improve PD-induced impairment of Substantia Nigra neurons (mild swelling of neurons with large nucleus and deranged fibers).
EA intervention can reduce pathological changes of Substantial Nigra in PD rats, which is probably associated with its effects in up-regulating the SOD and GSH-Px activity, GSH contents, and down-regulating MDA level, and reducing the apoptosis of DA neurons of the Substantia Nigra, suggesting an anti-oxidative stress effect of EA therapy.