Medical Research

Signal Transduction Pathways of Acupuncture for Treating Some Nervous System Diseases

Kristen Sparrow • July 05, 2020

Signal Transduction Pathways of Acupuncture for Treating Some Nervous System Diseases

Chinese garden stone and bonzai
Ancient Medicine Made Modern

This article is a fantastic resource that looks at the nitty gritty of multiple signaling pathways.  This is important because these pathways are the focus of research and pharmaceuticals companies to target these pathways for immune functions, inflammation, and anti-aging.

Associated Data

Data Availability Statement


In this article, we review signal transduction pathways through which acupuncture treats nervous system diseases. We electronically searched the databases, including PubMed, MEDLINE, clinical Key, the Cochrane Library, and the China National Knowledge Infrastructure from their inception to December 2018 using the following MeSH headings and keywords alone or in varied combination: acupuncture, molecular, signal transduction, genetic, cerebral ischemic injury, cerebral hemorrhagic injury, stroke, epilepsy, seizure, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, vascular dementia, and Parkinson’s disease. Acupuncture treats nervous system diseases by increasing the brain-derived neurotrophic factor level and involves multiple signal pathways, including p38 MAPKs, Raf/MAPK/ERK 1/2, TLR4/ERK, PI3K/AKT, AC/cAMP/PKA, ASK1-JNK/p38, and downstream CREB, JNK, m-TOR, NF-κB, and Bcl-2/Bax balance. Acupuncture affects synaptic plasticity, causes an increase in neurotrophic factors, and results in neuroprotection, cell proliferation, antiapoptosis, antioxidant activity, anti-inflammation, and maintenance of the blood-brain barrier.