Gastrointestinal dysfunction is the main nonmotor characteristic of Parkinson disease (PD), manipulation of gastrointestinal function by altering gut-brain axis is a potentially novel entry point for the treatment of PD. Acupuncture has been reported to confer beneficial effects in the gastrointestinal diseases. Therefore, this study aimed to explore the effects and mechanism of acupuncture on the pathophysiology and gastrointestinal function of PD. A PD mouse model was established by rotenone, and electroacupuncture was used to regulate the gastrointestinal function. Rotenone was found to induce the types of brain pathologies and gastrointestinal dysfunction that are similar to those observed with PD. Electroacupuncture significantly increased the spontaneous activity of mice with PD and increased the expression of tyrosine hydroxylase, while reducing the expression of Iba-1 in substantia nigra (SN), suggesting that motor dysfunction and neurological damage was alleviated. In addition, electroacupuncture significantly reduced the deposition of α-synuclein in both colon and SN, reduced intestinal inflammation, and exerted protective effects on enteric nervous system and intestinal barrier. In conclusion, electroacupuncture confers beneficial effects on the gastrointestinal system of mice with PD and can alleviate neuroinflammation and neuropathic injury by inhibiting intestinal inflammation, promoting intestinal barrier repair and reducing α-synuclein deposition in the colon.
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