[Effect of Electroacupuncture Intervention on β-endorphin Levels of Hypothalamus and Spinal Cord Tissues in Rats with Pelmatic Incisional Pain].Zhen Ci Yan Jiu. 2016 Jun 25; 41(3):225-9.ZC
To observe the effect of electroacupuncture (EA) intervention on pain thresholds (PT) and contents of β-endorphin (EP) in the hypothalamus and spinal cord, and the expression of 5-HT in the dorsal raphe nucleus(DRN)in rats with pelmatic incisional pain, so as to investigate the underlying mechanisms of acupuncture in reducing post-operative pain.
Wistar rats were randomized into normal control, model, EA and non-acupoint groups (n=8/group). The pelmatic pain model was induced by making an incision (about 1 cm in length, to the fascia and muscle layers) from the heel towards the toes. EA (2 Hz, 1.5-2 V) was applied to "Zusanli" (ST 36) and "Kunlun" (BL 60) or non-acupoint (about 3 mm beside the ST 36 and BL 60) on the affected side for 20 min, once daily for three days. The thermal PT and mechanical PT were measured before and after operation and after EA. The contents of β-EP in hypothalamus and L3-S4 spinal cord were detected using enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and the expressions of β-EP in hypothalamus and 5-HT in DRN were measured with immunohistochemistry.
After EA intervention, the markedly decreased mechanical and thermal pain thresholds on day 1 and 3 after paw incision were significantly increased in the EA group (P<0.05), but not in the non-acupoint group (P>0.05). The hypothalamic β-EP content was significantly higher in the model group than in the normal group (P<0.05), and further up-regulated in the EA group (not the non-acupoint group) than in the model group (P<0.05). In addition, the hypothalamic β-EP immunoreactive (IR)-positive cell number and 5-HT immunoactivity level in DRN were also considerably up-regulated in the EA group (P<0.05) but not in the non-acupoint group (P>0.05). No significant changes were found in the lumbar spinal β-EP contents in the model, EA and non-acupoint groups (P>0.05).
EA stimulation of "Zusanli"(ST 36) and "Kunlun" (BL 60) has an analgesic effect in pelmatic incision pain rats, which may be related to its effects in raising the level of hypothalamic β-EP and the expression of 5-HT in DRN.