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Electroacupuncture Ameliorates CUMS-induced Depression-like Behavior: Involvement of the Glutamatergic System and Apoptosis in Rats

Author(s):

Qin Guo, Xian-Ming Lin, Zhong Di, Quan-Ai Zhang and Shuo Jiang*   Pages 1 - 9 ( 9 )

Abstract:


Background: Converging evidence indicates that glutamatergic system and glia are directly implicated in the pathophysiology of depression. Clinical studies indicate that electroacupuncture (EA) has antidepressant-like effect with low side effects for depression. However, the underlying antidepressant mechanism of acupuncture remains obscure.

Methods: Chronic unpredictable mild stress (CUMS)-induced depressive rats were used to induce depressive-like behavior, and evaluated by the weight change, open field test, sucrose preference test, and novelty suppressed feeding test. EA, NMDA receptor subunit 2A antagonist (NR2A RA) or NMDA receptor subunit 2B antagonist (NR2B RA) was used for comparison. High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) was performed to detect the content of hippocampal glutamate, while western blot for the hippocampal protein expression levels of calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII), Bax, caspase 3 and B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2). The distribution of glutamate ionotropic receptor NMDA type subunit 2A (NR2A), neuronal nuclear protein (NeuN), glutamate ionotropic receptor NMDA type subunit 2B (NR2B) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) were detected by immunofluorescence.

Results: Significant depression behavior (reduced body weight and sucrose preference, increased feeding and immobility time) was produced in CUMS-induced depressive rats, which was reversed significantly by EA. EA decreased hippocampal glutamate level. EA led to a significant decrease in expression levels of Bax, caspase 3 and CaMKā…” accompanied by increased Bcl-2 expression level. Furthermore, EA significantly increased NR2A expression level as well as decreased NR2B expression level in hippocampus.

Conclusion: EA ameliorated depression-like behavior in CUMS rats, which might be mediated, at least in part, by regulating the glutamate, NMDA receptors and apoptosis in the hippocampus.

Keywords:

Depression, glutamate, NMDA, astrocyte, apoptosis, hippocampus, chronic unpredictable mild stress, electroacupuncture.

Affiliation:

Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, Hangzhou 310000, Department of Neurobiology and Acupuncture Research, The Third Clinical Medical College, Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, Hangzhou 310053, Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, Hangzhou 310000, Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, Hangzhou 310000, Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, The First Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, Hangzhou 310000



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