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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 670536, 14 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/670536
Research Article

Acupuncture Stimulation Alleviates Corticosterone-Induced Impairments of Spatial Memory and Cholinergic Neurons in Rats

1Acupuncture and Meridian Science Research Center, College of Oriental Medicine, Kyung Hee University, 1 Hoegi-dong, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul 130-701, Republic of Korea
2Department of Oriental Medicine, Graduate School of Oriental Medicine, Kyung Hee University, 1 Hoegi-dong, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul 130-701, Republic of Korea

Received 24 May 2011; Accepted 8 September 2011

Academic Editor: Rui Chen

Copyright © 2012 Bombi Lee et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine whether acupuncture improves spatial cognitive impairment induced by repeated corticosterone (CORT) administration in rats. The effect of acupuncture on the acetylcholinergic system was also investigated in the hippocampus. Male rats were subcutaneously injected with CORT (5 mg/kg) once daily for 21 days. Acupuncture stimulation was performed at the HT7 (Sinmun) acupoint for 5 min before CORT injection. HT7 acupoint is located at the end of transverse crease of ulnar wrist of forepaw. In CORT-treated rats, reduced spatial cognitive function was associated with significant increases in plasma CORT level (+36%) and hippocampal CORT level (+204%) compared with saline-treated rats. Acupuncture stimulation improved the escape latency for finding the platform in the Morris water maze. Consistently, the acupuncture significantly alleviated memory-associated decreases in cholinergic immunoreactivity and mRNA expression of BDNF and CREB in the hippocampus. These findings demonstrate that stimulation of HT7 acupoint produced significant neuroprotective activity against the neuronal impairment and memory dysfunction.