Electroacupuncture has been shown to improve cerebral blood flow in animal models of stroke. However, it is unclear whether electroacupuncture alters miRNA expression in the cortex. A recent study by researchers from Tianjin University examined changes in the cerebral cortical miRNA profile, cerebral blood flow and neurological function induced by electroacupuncture in a rat model of stroke.

In their study, electroacupuncture was performed at Renzhong (GV26) and Neiguan (PC6), with a frequency of 2 Hz, continuous wave, current intensity of 3.0 mA, and stimulation time of 1 minute. Electroacupuncture increased cerebral blood flow and alleviated neurological impairment in the rats. miRNA microarray profiling revealed that the vascular endothelial growth factor signaling pathway, which links cell proliferation with stroke, was most significantly affected by electroacupuncture. Electroacupuncture induced changes in expression of rno-miR-206-3p, rno-miR-3473, rno-miR-6216 and rno-miR-494-3p, and these changes were confirmed by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction.

These findings suggest that changes in cell proliferation-associated miRNA expression induced by electroacupuncture might be associated with the improved cerebral blood supply and functional recovery following stroke.


Heat map of significantly differentially expressed miRNAs (log ratio > 1.5 or < −1.5) in EA 24 hours vs. MCAO 24 hours.

Red indicates upregulation and green indicates downregulation in the EA group at 24 hours. MCAO: Middle cerebral artery occlusion; EA: electroacupuncture at Renzhong (GV26) and Neiguan (PC6).

LC Sciences


HZ Zheng, W. Jiang, XF Zhao, J. Du, PG Liu, LD Chang, WB Li, HT Hu, XM Shi (2016) Electroacupuncture induces acute changes in cerebral cortical miRNA profile, improves cerebral blood flow and alleviates neurological deficits in a rat model of stroke Neur. Reg. Res. 11(12) pgs 1940-1950 doi: 10.4103/1673-5374.197135 [abstract]

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