Effects of electroacupuncture on functional indices and pS6 expression following acute sciatic nerve crush injury in rats.
Acupunct Med. 2020 Jan 30:acupmed2016011263. Epub 2020 Jan 30. PMID: 31996011
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of electroacupuncture (EA) on recovery from acute sciatic nerve crush injury and the expression of pS6 in rats.
METHODS: A total of 108 adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into control, model, EA and EA+rapamycin (EA+Rapa) groups. 28 rats were allocated to undergo measurement of sciatic functional index (SFI); one rat in the EA+Rapa group was unsuccessfully modelled and excluded because of an anaesthetic problem. The remaining 80 rats were allocated to undergo Western blot detection of S6 ribosomal protein (pS6, ser240/244). The model was created by mechanical clamping of the sciatic nerve stem. EA stimulation at GB30 and ST36 for 15 min separately was applied once daily for rats in the EA and EA+Rapa groups. For rats in the EA+Rapa group, rapamycin, a mammalian target of rapamycin (mTor) pathway inhibitor, was injected intramuscularly (1 mg/kg/day) near the site of crush injury in the sciatic nerve and an equivalentamount of dimethyl sulfoxide was injected in the other three groups every other day. After treatment for 7, 14, 28 and 42 days post-operation, the SFI of 27 rats was obtained to evaluate recovery of motor function and five rats from each group per stage were used for Western blot detection of pS6.
RESULTS: The SFI values showed that EA could significantly promote recovery of the injured sciatic nerve but rapamycin hindered the therapeutic effect of EA. Moreover, immunoblotting indicated that EA improved the expression of pS6 in the area of the sciatic nerve crush injury and local injection of rapamycin near the injured sciatic nerve decreased its expression. The pS6 level correlated with the extent of recovery of the injury.
CONCLUSIONS: This study indicated that EA may activate the mTOR signalling pathway to enhance expression of pS6 and facilitate recovery following sciatic nerve crush injury.