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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2016, Article ID 2371875, 9 pages
Research Article

Effects of Electroacupuncture at Governor Vessel Acupoints on Neurotrophin-3 in Rats with Experimental Spinal Cord Injury

1Department of Rehabilitation, The Third People’s Hospital of Shenzhen, No. 29 Bulan Road, Longgang District, Shenzhen 518112, China
2School of Acupuncture, Moxibustion and Tuina, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, No. 11 North Third Ring Road East, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100029, China
3Treatment Center of TCM, Beijing Bo’ai Hospital, China Rehabilitation Research Center, School of Rehabilitation Medicine, Capital Medical University, No. 10 Jiaomen North Road, Fengtai District, Beijing 100068, China
4Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Inner Mongolia People’s Hospital, No. 20 Zhao Wudaroad, Hohhot, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region 010017, China
5Institute of Microcirculation, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, No. 5 Dong Dan San Tiao Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing 100005, China
6Research and Experimental Center, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, No. 11 North Third Ring Road East, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100029, China
7Department of Rehabilitation, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, No. 51 An Wai Xiao Guan Street, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100029, China

Received 20 March 2016; Revised 27 June 2016; Accepted 17 July 2016

Academic Editor: Ke-Lun Wang

Copyright © 2016 Yu-ping Mo 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.


In an effort to explore new, noninvasive treatment options for spinal cord injuries (SCI), this study investigated the effects of electroacupuncture (EA) for SCI rat models. SCI was induced by a modified Allen’s weight-drop method. We investigated the response of EA at Dazhui (GV 14) and Mingmen (GV 4) acupoints to understand the effects and mechanisms of EA in neuroprotection and neuronal function recovery after SCI. BBB testing was used to detect motor function of rats’ hind limbs among groups, and EA was shown to promote the recovery of SCI rats’ motor function. Nissl staining showed a restored neural morphology and an increase in the quantity of neurons after EA. Also, the antiapoptosis role was exposed by TUNEL staining. Western blotting analysis was used to determine the protein expression of neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) in spinal cord tissue. Compared to the sham group, the expression levels of NT-3 were significantly decreased and EA was shown to upregulate the expression of NT-3. The present study suggests that the role of EA in neuroprotection and dorsal neuronal function recovery after SCI in rats, especially EA stimulation at GV 14 and GV 4, can greatly promote neuronal function recovery, which may result from upregulating the expression of NT-3.