This paper shows that acupuncture triggers IGF-1, a gene linked with longevity. Here it is involved in neuroplasticity following dorsal root ganglionectomies. Difficult to know if we can extrapolate to longevity genes in humans.
Electro-acupuncture-induced neuroprotection is associated with activation of the IGF-1/PI3K/Akt pathway following adjacent dorsal root ganglionectomies in rats
The aim of the present study was to investigate the putative role and underlying mechanisms of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in mediating neuroplasticity in rats subjected to partial dorsal root ganglionectomies following electro-acupuncture (EA) treatment. The rats underwent bilateral removal of the L1-L4 and L6 dorsal root ganglia (DRG), sparing the L5 DRG, and were subsequently subjected to 28 days of EA treatment at two paired acupoints, zusanli (ST 36)-xuanzhong (GB 39) and futu (ST 32)-sanyinjiao (SP 6), as the EA Model group. Rats that received partial dorsal root ganglionectomies without EA treatment served as a control (Model group). Subsequently, herpes simplex virus (HSV)-IGF-1, HSV-small interfering (si) RNA-IGF-1 and the associated control vectors were injected into the L5 DRG of rats in the EA Model group. HSV-IGF-1 transfection enhanced EA-induced neuroplasticity, which manifested as partial recovery in locomotor function, remission hyperpathia, growth of DRG-derived spared fibers, increased expression of phosphorylated (p-) phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and Akt, and increased pPI3K/PI3K and pAkt/Akt expression ratios. By contrast, HSV-siRNA-IGF-1 treatment attenuated these effects induced by HSV-IGF-1 transfection. The results additionally demonstrated that HSV-IGF-1 transfection augmented the outgrowth of neurites in cultured DRG neurons, and interference of the expression of IGF-1 retarded neurite outgrowth. Co-treatment with a PI3K inhibitor or Akt siRNA inhibited the aforementioned effects induced by the overexpression of IGF-1. In conclusion, the results of the present study demonstrated the crucial roles of IGF-1 in EA-induced neuroplasticity following adjacent dorsal root ganglionectomies in rats via the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway.