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Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 575–592 | Cite as

Mechanisms of Acupuncture Therapy for Cerebral Ischemia: an Evidence-Based Review of Clinical and Animal Studies on Cerebral Ischemia

  • Wen Zhu
  • Yang Ye
  • Yi Liu
  • Xue-Rui Wang
  • Guang-Xia Shi
  • Shuai Zhang
  • Cun-Zhi LiuEmail author
INVITED REVIEW

Abstract

Ischemic stroke is a major cause of mortality and disability worldwide. As a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupuncture has been shown to be effective in promoting recovery after stroke. In this article, we review the clinical and experimental studies that demonstrated the mechanisms of acupuncture treatment for cerebral ischemia. Clinical studies indicated that acupuncture activated relevant brain regions, modulated cerebral blood flow and related molecules in stroke patients. Evidence from laboratory indicated that acupuncture regulates cerebral blood flow and metabolism after the interrupt of blood supply. Acupuncture regulates multiple molecules and signaling pathways that lead to excitoxicity, oxidative stress, inflammation, neurons death and survival. Acupuncture also promotes neurogenesis, angiogenesis as well as neuroplasticity after ischemic damage. The evidence provided from clinical and laboratory suggests that acupuncture induces multi-level regulation via complex mechanisms and a single factor may not be enough to explain the beneficial effects against cerebral ischemia.

Keywords

Cerebral ischemia Acupuncture Neuroprotection Recovery enhancement 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by a grant from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant no. 81473501). This work was also supported by the Beijing Nova Program (Grant no. 2014B063).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wen Zhu
    • 1
  • Yang Ye
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yi Liu
    • 1
  • Xue-Rui Wang
    • 1
  • Guang-Xia Shi
    • 1
  • Shuai Zhang
    • 1
  • Cun-Zhi Liu
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Acupuncture and Moxibustion Department, Beijing Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine Affiliated to Capital Medical University, Beijing Key Laboratory of Acupuncture NeuromodulationBeijingChina
  2. 2.Graduate SchoolBeijing University of Chinese MedicineBeijingChina

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