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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 7842362, 11 pages
Research Article

Electroacupuncture Alleviates Depressive-Like Symptoms and Modulates BDNF Signaling in 6-Hydroxydopamine Rats

1Departments of Neurobiology and Physiology, Key Laboratory for Neurodegenerative Disorders of the Ministry of Education, Beijing Key Laboratory for Parkinson’s Disease, Beijing Institute for Brain Disorders, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100069, China
2Beijing Key Laboratory for Mental Disorders, China Clinical Research Center for Mental Disorders, Beijing Anding Hospital, Capital Medical University, 5 Ankang Alley, Beijing 100088, China

Received 10 April 2016; Accepted 16 June 2016

Academic Editor: Pierre Champy

Copyright © 2016 Min Sun 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.


Previous studies have identified the beneficial effects of electroacupuncture (EA) on motor behaviors in Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, the role and potential mechanisms of EA in PD-associated depression remain unclear. In the present study, a rat model of PD with unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) lesions in the medial forebrain bundle was treated using EA for 4 weeks. We found that 100 Hz EA improved several motor phenotypes. In addition, tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) immunohistochemical analysis showed that EA had a minimal impact on the TH-positive profiles of the ipsilateral ventral tegmental area. Compared with the 6-OHDA group, long-term EA stimulation significantly increased sucrose solution consumption and decreased immobility time in the forced swim test. EA treatment did not alter dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels in the striatum and hippocampus. Noticeably, EA treatment reversed the 6-OHDA-induced abnormal expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB) in the midbrain and hippocampus. These results demonstrate that EA at 100-Hz possesses the ability to improve depressive-like symptoms in PD rats, which is, at least in part, due to the distinct effect of EA on the mesostriatal and mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic pathways. Moreover, BDNF seems to participate in the effect of EA in PD.