Electroacupuncture improves TBI dysfunction by targeting HDAC overexpression and BDNF-associated Akt/GSK-3β signaling

Shih-Ya Hung, Hsin-Yi Chung, Sih-Ting Luo, Yu-Ting Chu, Yu-Hsin Chen, Iona J MacDonald, Szu-Yu Chien, Peddanna Kotha, Liang-Yo Yang, Ling-Ling Hwang, Nae J Dun, De-Maw Chuang, Yi-Hung Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Acupuncture or electroacupuncture (EA) appears to be a potential treatment in acute clinical traumatic brain injury (TBI); however, it remains uncertain whether acupuncture affects post-TBI histone deacetylase (HDAC) expression or impacts other biochemical/neurobiological events.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We used behavioral testing, Western blot, and immunohistochemistry analysis to evaluate the cellular and molecular effects of EA at LI4 and LI11 in both weight drop-impact acceleration (WD)- and controlled cortical impact (CCI)-induced TBI models.

RESULTS: Both WD- and CCI-induced TBI caused behavioral dysfunction, increased cortical levels of HDAC1 and HDAC3 isoforms, activated microglia and astrocytes, and decreased cortical levels of BDNF as well as its downstream mediators phosphorylated-Akt and phosphorylated-GSK-3β. Application of EA reversed motor, sensorimotor, and learning/memory deficits. EA also restored overexpression of HDAC1 and HDAC3, and recovered downregulation of BDNF-associated signaling in the cortex of TBI mice.

CONCLUSION: The results strongly suggest that acupuncture has multiple benefits against TBI-associated adverse behavioral and biochemical effects and that the underlying mechanisms are likely mediated by targeting HDAC overexpression and aberrant BDNF-associated Akt/GSK-3 signaling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)880267
JournalFrontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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