A close relationship has recently been described between subjective cognitive decline (SCD) and gut microbiota disorders. Herein, we aim to investigate the effect of electroacupuncture (EA) on gut microbiota in participants with SCD.We conducted a study of 60 participants with SCD. Sixty participants were allocated to either electroacupuncture group (n = 30) or sham acupuncture group (n = 30). Both groups received 24 sessions of real acupuncture treatment or identical treatment sessions using the placebo needle.
Global cognitive change based on a comprehensive neuropsychological test battery was evaluated to detect the clinical efficacy of acupuncture treatment at the baseline and the end of treatment. Faecal microbial analyses were carried out after collecting stools at T0 and T12 weeks. Microbiomes were analyzed by 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing. Correlation analyses were performed to investigate the relationships between the changes in gut microbiota and symptom improvement.
Age is a particularly important factor leading to the severity of dementia. Compared with sham acupuncture group, the number of Escherichia-Shigella in electroacupuncture group decreased after treatment. The number of Escherichia-Shigella in electroacupuncture group decreased after treatment compared with EA group before treatment. Bifidobacterium is positively correlated with clinical efficacy Z-score and Montreal Cognitive Assessment Scale (both P < .005).
Acupuncture could improve global cognitive change among SCD participants by regulating the intestinal flora. Dysbiosis was found in the gut microbiome in SCD and partially relieved by acupuncture. Our study suggests that gut microbiota could be a potential therapeutic target and diagnostic biomarker for SCD.