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Electroacupuncture preconditioning-induced neuroprotection may be mediated by glutamate transporter type 2

… Their heart rates, breathing rates, and pulse oximeter oxygen saturations were monitored
continuously and noninvasively using a MouseOX Murine Plus Oximeter System (Starr Life
Sciences Corporation, Oakmont, PA, USA) as we did before (Li and Zuo, 2011). … Electroacupuncture has been shown to induce a preconditioning effect in the brain. The mechanisms for this protection are not fully elucidated. We hypothesize that this protection is mediated by excitatory amino acid transporters (EAATs) that have been shown to be neuroprotective. To test this hypothesis, two-month old male Sprague–Dawley rats and EAAT type 3 (EAAT3) knockout mice received or did not receive 30-min electroacupuncture once a day for five consecutive days. They were subjected to a 120-min middle cerebral arterial occlusion (MCAO) at 24 h after the last electroacupuncture. Neurological outcome was assessed 2 days after the MCAO. Brain tissues were harvested at 24 h after the last electroacupuncture for Western blotting. Rats subjected to electroacupuncture at the Baihui acupoint had smaller brain infarct volumes and better neurological deficit scores than control rats. Electroacupuncture increased EAAT type 2 (EAAT2) in the cerebral cortex, tended to increase EAAT3 in the hippocampus, and had no effect on EAAT type 1 expression. Dihydrokainate, an EAAT2 inhibitor, worsened the neurological outcome of rats with electroacupuncture pretreatment. Electroacupuncture pretreatment at the Baihui acupoint increased EAAT2 in the cerebral cortex and improved the neurological outcome of EAAT3 knockout mice. Together, our results suggest that EAAT2 may mediate the electroacupuncture preconditioning-induced neuroprotection.

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