I am a
Home I AM A Search Login

Papers of the Week

Papers: 27 May 2023 - 2 Jun 2023

Basic Science, Integrative/Complementary, Psychology

Animal Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology, Neuromodulation


2023 May 29

Cell Death Dis




Electroacupuncture prevents astrocyte atrophy to alleviate depression.


Lin SS, Zhou B, Chen BJ, Jiang RT, Li B, Illes P, Semyanov A, Tang Y, Verkhratsky A


Astrocyte atrophy is the main histopathological hallmark of major depressive disorder (MDD) in humans and in animal models of depression. Here we show that electroacupuncture prevents astrocyte atrophy in the prefrontal cortex and alleviates depressive-like behaviour in mice subjected to chronic unpredictable mild stress (CUMS). Treatment of mice with CUMS induced depressive-like phenotypes as confirmed by sucrose preference test, tail suspension test, and forced swimming test. These behavioural changes were paralleled with morphological atrophy of astrocytes in the prefrontal cortex, revealed by analysis of 3D reconstructions of confocal Z-stack images of mCherry expressing astrocytes. This morphological atrophy was accompanied by a decrease in the expression of cytoskeletal linker Ezrin, associated with formation of astrocytic leaflets, which form astroglial synaptic cradle. Electroacupuncture at the acupoint ST36, as well as treatment with anti-depressant fluoxetine, prevented depressive-like behaviours, astrocytic atrophy, and down-regulation of astrocytic ezrin. In conclusion, our data further strengthen the notion of a primary role of astrocytic atrophy in depression and reveal astrocytes as cellular target for electroacupuncture in treatment of depressive disorders.