Stem Cell Rev. 2014 May 2. [Epub ahead of print]
Electro-Acupuncture Promotes the Survival and Differentiation of Transplanted Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cells Pre-Induced with Neurotrophin-3 and Retinoic Acid in Gelatin Sponge Scaffold after Rat Spinal Cord Transection.
Zhang K1, Liu Z, Li G, Lai BQ, Qin LN, Ding Y, Ruan JW, Zhang SX, Zeng YS.
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In the past decades, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) as a promising cell candidate have received the most attention in the treatment of spinal cord injury (SCI). However, due to the low survival rate and low neural differentiation rate, the grafted MSCs do not perform well as one would have expected. In the present study, we tested a combinational therapy to improve on this situation. MSCs were loaded into three-dimensional gelatin sponge (GS) scaffold. After 7 days of induction with neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) and retinoic acid (RA) in vitro, we observed a significant increase in TrkC mRNA transcription by Real-time PCR and this was confirmed by in situ hybridization. The expression of TrkC was also confirmed by Western blot and immunohistochemistry. Differentiation potential of MSCs in vitro into neuron-like cells or oligodendrocyte-like cells was further demonstrated by using immunofluorescence staining. The pre-induced MSCs seeding in GS scaffolds were then grafted into the transected rat spinal cord. One day after grafting, Governor Vessel electro-acupuncture (GV-EA) treatment was applied to rats in the NR-MSCs + EA group. At 30 days after GV-EA treatment, it found that the grafted MSCs have better survival rate and neuron-like cell differentiation compared with those without GV-EA treatment. The sustained TrkC expression in the grafted MSCs as well as increased NT-3 content in the injury/graft site by GV-EA suggests that NT-3/TrkC signaling pathway may be involved in the promoting effect. This study demonstrates that GV-EA and pre-induction with NT-3 and RA together may promote the survival and differentiation of grafted MSCs in GS scaffold in rat SCI.
PMID: 24789671 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Cell Physiol Biochem. 2016 Apr 18;38(4):1605-1617. [Epub ahead of print]
Electro-Acupuncture Promotes Endogenous Multipotential Mesenchymal Stem Cell Mobilization into the Peripheral Blood.
Liu L, Yu Q, Hu K, Wang B, Zhang Y, Xu Y, Fu S, Yu X, Huang H.
Mobilization of endogenous stem cells is an appealing strategy for cell therapy However, there is little evidence for reproducible, effective methods of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) mobilization. In the present study, we investigated the mobilizing effect of electro-acupuncture (EA) on endogenous MSCs.
Normal adult rats were randomly divided into six groups, namely, EA for 14 days (EA14d), sham EA14d, EA21d, sham EA21d and matched control groups. MSC mobilization efficiency was determined by colony-forming unit fibroblast (CFU-F) assays. Mobilized peripheral blood (PB)-derived MSCs were identified by immunophenotype and multi-lineage differentiation potential.
CFU-F frequency was significantly increased in the PB of EA14d rats compared with the sham EA and control groups. Moreover, the number of CFU-Fs was increased further in the EA21d group. MSCs derived from EA-mobilized PB were positive for CD90 and CD44, but negative for CD45. Additionally, these cells could differentiate into adipocytes, osteoblasts, chondrocytes and neural-like cells in vitro. Finally, stromal cell-derived factor-1α (SDF-1α) was increased in the PB of rats subjected to EA, and the migration of MSCs was improved in response to SDF-1α.
MSCs with multi-lineage differentiation potential can be mobilized by EA. Our data provide a promising strategy for MSC mobilization.
© 2016 The Author(s) Published by S. Karger AG, Basel.

Inflammation. 2016 May 24. [Epub ahead of print]
Synergistic Effects of Electroacupuncture and Mesenchymal Stem Cells on Intestinal Ischemia/Reperfusion Injury in Rats.
Geng Y1, Chen D2, Zhou J1, Lu J1, Chen M1, Zhang H1, Wang X3.
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Electroacupuncture (EA) and transplantation of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are both promising therapeutic applications for intestinal disorders. The current study examined their combined effect on rat intestinal ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury and the possible mechanism. Five groups were performed: con group (shame operation),I/R group (model group), MSC group (I/R + MSC), EA group (I/R + EA), and combined group (I/R + MSC + EA). Intestinal histological damage, crypt cell proliferation degree, mucosal cytokines expression, and levels of inflammation factors were studied for each group. Compared with the I/R group, crypt cell proliferation index and mucosal mRNA concentration of SDF-1, CXCR4, EGF, EGFR in MSC group and EA group were significantly increased, with mucosal NF-кBp65 and serum inflammation factor (TNF-α, IL-6) levels significantly decreased. Above all of these indicators except NF-кBp65 were improved more notably in combined group than the other two treatment groups. Chiu's score was only ameliorated remarkably in the combined group. The combined treatment of MSC transplantion and electroacupuncture could protect intestinal mucosal barrier from I/R injury.