Electroacupuncture protects cognition in an Alzheimer's disease model. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Electroacupuncture Protects Cognition by Regulating Tau Phosphorylation and Glucose Metabolism via the AKT/GSK3β Signaling Pathway in Alzheimer's Disease Model Mice.
Front Neurosci. 2020 ;14:585476. Epub 2020 Nov 20. PMID: 33328854
Background: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is mainly manifested as a continuous and progressive decline in cognitive ability. Neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) are pathological hallmarks of AD and due to accumulated phosphorylated Tau. Glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK3β), as a major Tau kinase and a downstream target of the serine protein kinase B (AKT) signaling pathway, can regulate Tau phosphorylation in AD. Importantly, the AKT/GSK3β signaling pathway is involved in glucose metabolism, and abnormal glucose metabolism is found in the AD brain. Numerous studies have shown that electroacupuncture (EA), which is thought to be a potential complementary therapeutic approach for AD, can protect cognitive ability to a certain extent.
Objective: The purpose of this experiment was to investigate whether the protective and beneficial mechanism of EA on cognition was mediated by the AKT/GSK3β signaling pathway, thereby improving glucose metabolism and Tau phosphorylation in the brain.
Methods: EA was applied to the Baihui (GV20) and Yintang (GV29) acupoints of 6-month-old amyloid precursor protein (APP)/presenilin-1 (PS1) mice for 20 min, and then quickly prick Shuigou (GV26) acupoint. The intervention was performed once every other day for 28 days. The Morris water maze (MWM) test was performed on C57BL/6N (Non-Tg) mice, APP/PS1 (Tg) mice and EA-treated Tg (Tg + EA) mice to evaluate the effect of EA therapy on cognitive function.F-FDG positron emission tomography (PET), immunohistochemistry, and western blotting (WB) were used to investigate the possible mechanism underlying the effect of EA on AD.
Results: EA treatment significantly improved the cognition of APP/PS1 mice and the glucose uptake rate in the hippocampus. Furthermore, EA inhibited the phosphorylation of Tau (Ser199 and Ser202) proteins by inducing AKT (Ser473) and GSK3β (Ser9) phosphorylation.
Conclusion: These results demonstrate that EA intervention protects cognition by enhancing glucose metabolism and inhibiting abnormal phosphorylation of Tau protein in the AD model mice, and the AKT/GSK3β pathway might play an irreplaceable role in the regulation process.