Acupuncture regulates inflammation process and growth factors by increasing blood circulation in affected areas. In this study, we examined whether acupuncture has an effect on wound healing in injured rat. Rats were assigned randomly into two groups: control group and acupuncture group. Acupuncture treatment was carried out at 8 sites around the wounded area. We analyzed the wound area, inflammatory cytokines, proliferation of resident cells, and angiogenesis and induction of extracelluar matrix remodeling. At 7 days after-wounding the wound size in acupuncture-treat group was decreased more significantly compared to control group. In addition, the protein levels of proinflammatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin-1β (IL-1β) were significantly decreased compared to the control at 2 and 7 days post-wounding. Also, we analyzed newly generated cells by performing immunostaining for PCNA and using several phenotype markers such as CD-31, α-SMA, and collagen type I. In acupuncture-treated group, PCNA-positive cell was increased and PCNA labeled CD-31-positive vessels, α-SMA- and collagen type I-positive fibroblastic cells, were increased compared to the control group at 7 days post-wounding. These results suggest that acupuncture may improve wound healing through decreasing pro-inflammatory response, increasing cell proliferation and angiogenesis, and inducing extracellular matrix remodeling.
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