Electro-acupuncture improves survival and migration of transplanted neural stem cells in injured spinal cord in rats

Ya Yun Chen, Wei Zhang, Yu Lin Chen, Shui Jun Chen, Hongxin Dong, Yuan Shan Zeng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


This study investigated whether electro-acupuncture (EA) would improve the survival and migration of neural stem cells (NSCs) transplanted in injured spinal cord as well as the potential mechanisms. T10 spinal cord segments of 50 adult Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats were completely transected, and then NSCs were immediately transplanted into the transected site of the experimental animals, while control animals were sham operated without transplantation. Five days post-operation, electro-acupuncture treatment on GV9 (Zhiyang), GV6 (Jizhong), GV2 (Yaoshu) and GV1 (Changqiang) acupoints was applied for 14 days (EA+NSCs 14d) and 30 days (EA+NSCs 30d). ELISA and immunohistochemical staining were used to assess the content of neurotrophine-3 (NT-3) and the characteristics of transplanted NSCs. We found that the number of transplanted NSCs the survived in EA+NSCs 14d group was significantly increased as compared to that of the NSCs30d group (5825.20 ± 819.01 vs 4781.40 ± 500.49, P<0.05). Immunostaining indicated that some transplanted NSCs developed into microtubule association protein 2 (MAP2) positive cells and many of them developed into glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) positive cells in the NSCs30d group. Further, the migration length of transplanted NSCs toward caudal tissue in the injured site was longer in the EA+NSCs30d group than that in NSCs30d group (5.98±0.79 mm vs 3.96±1.72 mm; P<0.05). Also NT-3 in injured spinal cord tissue was 23% increased in the EA+NSCs 14d group. These results suggest that the combination of EA and NSCs improves the survival and migration of NSCs in injured spinal cord in rats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-31
Number of pages13
JournalAcupuncture and Electro-Therapeutics Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2008


  • Cell migratory orientation
  • Electro-acupuncture
  • Nerotrophine-3
  • Neural stem cells
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Stem cell transplant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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