Electro-acupuncture (EA) is an effective curative method for various diseases in oriental medicine. To investigate a detailed molecular mechanism of EA stimulation, an induction of phospho-Akt (p-Akt) was examined in normal adult rat brain after 60 min of EA with acupoints of Baihui (D20) and Renzhong (D26). In the sham control brain, strong neuronal p-Akt expression was found in ventral posterolateral thalamic nucleus (VPL) and medial habenular nuclei (MHb), but moderate to weak in cortex, caudate, CA1 sector and dentate gyrus of hippocampus, and ventral posteromedial thalamic nucleus. EA stimulation generally enhanced and sustained p-Akt expression for at least 24 h especially in the regions listed above, except VPL and MHb where no apparent change was found. Western blot analysis of p-Akt confirmed the enhanced signal intensity after EA at 8 and 24 h. These results suggest that the EA on D20 and D26 acupoints activates the survival Akt signal pathway, which may be maintaining the neural functions such as cell survival and memory formation in normal brain.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology