Bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) can be differentiated into neuronal cells and are used to treat spinal cord injury (SCI).
This study investigated whether electroacupuncture enhances BMSC’s effects on SCI in rats.
The effects of transplantation of phosphate-buffered saline or BMSC, electroacupuncture, and a combination of BMSC transplantation and electroacupuncture on SCI were evaluated using a combined behavioral score (CBS). Expressions of neuronal marker neuron-specific enolase (NSE) and gliocyte-specific marker glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) of transplanted BMSC were detected using immunohistochemistry to assess the effect of electroacupuncture on differentiation of BMSC into neuronal cells.
The combination of BMSC transplantation and electroacupuncture significantly alleviated CBS in rats with SCI compared with the separate treatment of BMSC or electroacupuncture. In addition, electroacupuncture increased the NSE- and GFAP-positive transplanted BMSCs in spinal cord.
Combined treatment showed a better effect, and the mechanisms may be partially caused by enhanced differentiation of BMSC into neuronal cells. Future studies are needed to confirm this.