Electroacupuncture alleviates neuromuscular dysfunction in an experimental rat model of immobilization
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Jun Yang1, Su Min1, Fei Xie1, Jingyuan Chen1, Xuechao Hao1 and Li Ren1
1Department of Anesthesiology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing 400016, China
Su Min, email: [email protected]
Keywords: electroacupuncture, nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, immobilization, skeletal muscle atrophy, neuromuscular function
Received: January 20, 2017 Accepted: July 25, 2017 Published: August 14, 2017
Immobilization-related skeletal muscle atrophy is a major concern to patients in Intensive Care Units and it has a profound effect on the quality of life. However, the underlying molecular events for the therapeutic effect of electroacupuncture to treat muscle atrophy have not been fully elucidated. Here we developed an immobilization mouse model and tested the hypothesis that skeletal muscle weakness may be caused by the increased expression of γ and α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) on muscle cell membranes, while electroacupuncture could decrease the expression of γ and α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Compared with the rats in control, those treated with immobilization for 14 days showed a significant reduction of tibialis anterior muscle weight, muscle atrophy and dysfunction, which was associated with a significant decrease expression of neuregulin-1 and increased expression of γ- and α7-nAChR in tibialis anterior muscle. Electroacupuncture significantly enhanced the expression of neuregulin-1 and alleviated the muscle loss, while diminished the expression of γ- and α7-nAChR. Taken together, the beneficial effect of electroacupuncture may be attributed to suppressing γ- and α7-nAChR production, enhancing neuromuscular function and neuregulin-1 protein synthesis. These results suggest that electroacupuncture is a potential therapy for preventing muscle atrophy during immobilization.
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