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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2017, Article ID 2357653, 9 pages
Research Article

The Role of MAPK and Dopaminergic Synapse Signaling Pathways in Antidepressant Effect of Electroacupuncture Pretreatment in Chronic Restraint Stress Rats

1School of Acupuncture-Moxibustion and Tuina, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing 100029, China
2School of Chinese Integrative Medicine, Hebei Medical University, Shijiazhuang 050091, China
3Centre for Evidence-Based Chinese Medicine, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing 100029, China
4School of Psychological and Cognitive Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Tuya Bao; ten.362@bayut

Received 4 May 2017; Revised 17 July 2017; Accepted 3 August 2017; Published 17 October 2017

Academic Editor: Gang Chen

Copyright © 2017 Xinjing Yang 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.


Acupuncture has demonstrated the function in ameliorating depressive-like behaviors via modulating PKA/CREB signaling pathway. To further confirm the antidepressant mechanism of EA on the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and dopaminergic synapse signaling pathways, 4 target proteins were detected based on our previous iTRAQ analysis. Rats were randomly divided into control group, model group, and electroacupuncture (EA) group. Except for the control group, all rats were subjected to 28 days of chronic restraint stress (CRS) protocols to induce depression. In the EA group, EA pretreatment at Baihui (GV20) and Yintang (GV29) was performed daily (1 mA, 2 Hz, discontinuous wave, 20 minutes) prior to restraint. The antidepressant-like effect of EA was measured by body weight and open-field test. The protein levels of DAT, Th, Mapt, and Prkc in the hippocampus were examined by using Western blot. The results showed EA could ameliorate the depression-like behaviors and regulate the expression levels of Prkc and Mapt in CRS rats. The effect of EA on DAT and Th expression was minimal. These findings implied that EA pretreatment could alleviate depression through modulating MAPK signaling pathway. The role of EA on dopaminergic synapse signaling pathways needs to be further explored.