Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a very severe traumatic disease of the central nervous system (CNS). Because of its high incidence rate in causing disabilities, it brings great burdens to patients and society. Both Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Western Medicine have been adopted to ameliorate SCI with promising outcomes. In TCM, the use of Governor Vessel electro-acupuncture has achieved remarkable results on the rehabilitation of patients with SCI. In the past decade, Governor Vessel electro-acupuncture has also been used in experimentally induced SCI and this has resulted in promising functional recovery. Both neural stem cells (NSCs) and bone marrow mesenchymal cells (MSCs) have been used extensively in recent years for improvement of functional recovery of CNS disorders. We have used a combined approach by integrating the basic and clinical research in SCI in recent years. In this connection, transplantation of NSCs or MSCs coupled with the Governor Vessel electro-acupuncture (GV-EA) has been adopted to improve the recovery of SCI. Our study suggests that GV-EA may activate the process of cell metabolism, and initiate synthesis and secretion of endogenous neurotrophic factors in the ambient tissues at the lesion site of spinal cord. It is proposed that the new combined strategy could promote a better structural and functional recovery of injured spinal cord.
Keywords: Spinal cord injury, electro-acupuncture, neural stem cells, bone marrow mesenchymal cells, transplantation, neurotrophic factors, nerve regeneration, functional recovery, rehabilitation, cell metabolism
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