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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2017, Article ID 6421260, 10 pages
Research Article

Electroacupuncture Alleviates Postoperative Cognitive Dysfunction in Aged Rats by Inhibiting Hippocampal Neuroinflammation Activated via Microglia/TLRs Pathway

1Department of Neurobiology & Acupuncture Research, The Third Clinical College, Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, Hangzhou 310053, China
2Medical Department for Senior Cadres, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, Hangzhou 310005, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Zhe Liu; moc.361@uilsrss and Gai-mei Wang; moc.361@kbgyysz

Received 3 February 2017; Revised 18 April 2017; Accepted 30 April 2017; Published 8 June 2017

Academic Editor: Elia Ranzato

Copyright © 2017 Pei-pei Feng 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.


Neuroinflammation has been suggested to be involved in the pathogenesis of postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD). Electroacupuncture (EA) is an irreplaceable method in traditional Chinese medicine that is used for treating neurodegenerative diseases in clinical and experimental studies. The aim of this study was to examine whether EA improves cognitive dysfunction caused by surgery and to investigate the pathological mechanism of TLR2 and TLR4 in the hippocampus of aged rats. A rat model of POCD was established and treated with EA or minocycline. Both EA- and minocycline-treated rats performed significantly better than untreated operated rats in spatial memory tasks of the Morris water maze (MWM) test, spending comparatively greater amounts of time in the target zone during the probe test. Additionally, decreased levels of proinflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, and HMGB1) and decreased TLR2 and TLR4 protein expression in the hippocampus of EA- and minocycline-treated rats were detected. Our data suggested that EA treatment alleviated the cognition performance deficit and neuroinflammation in aged rats following surgery, which may be mediated by inhibiting the expression of hippocampal neuroinflammatory cytokines through the microglia/TLR2/4 pathway.