Acupuncture is widely used in the treatment of cerebral hemorrhage, and it improves outcomes in experimental animal models and patients. However, the mechanisms underlying the effectiveness of acupuncture treatment for cerebral hemorrhage are still unclear. In this study, a model of intracerebral hemorrhage was produced by injecting 50 μL autologous blood into the caudate nucleus in Wistar rats. Acupuncture at Baihui (DU20) and Qubin (GB7) acupoints was performed at a depth of 1.0 inch, 12 hours after blood injection, once every 24 hours. The needle was rotated at 200 r/min for 5 minutes, For each 30-minute session, needling at 200 r/min was performed for three sessions, each lasting 5 minutes. For the positive control group, at 6 hours, and 1, 2, 3 and 7 days after induction of hemorrhage, the rats were intraperitoneally injected with 1 mL aniracetam (0.75 mg/mL), three times a day. The Bederson behavioral test was used to assess palsy in the contralateral limbs. Western blot assay was used to examine the expression levels of Nestin and basic fibroblast growth factor in the basal ganglia. Immunohistochemistry was performed to count the number of Nestin- and glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor-positive cells in the basal ganglia. Acupuncture effectively reduced hemorrhage and brain edema, elevated the expression levels of Nestin and basic fibroblast growth factor in the basal ganglia, and increased the number of Nestin- and glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor-positive cells in the basal ganglia. Together, these findings suggest that acupuncture promotes functional recovery after cerebral hemorrhage by increasing the expression of neurotrophic factors. The study was approved by the Committee for Experimental Animals of Heilongjiang Medical Laboratory Animal Center (approval No. 2017061001) on June 10, 2017.
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