Electroacupuncture Alleviated Referral Hindpaw Hyperalgesia via Suppressing Spinal Long-Term Potentiation (LTP) in TNBS-Induced Colitis Rats.Neural Plast 2019; 2019:2098083NP
Although referred pain or hypersensitivity has been repeatedly reported in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients and experimental colitis rodents, little is known about the neural mechanisms. Spinal long-term potentiation (LTP) of nociceptive synaptic transmission plays a critical role in the development of somatic hyperalgesia in chronic pain conditions. Herein, we sought to determine whether spinal LTP contributes to the referral hyperalgesia in colitis rats and particularly whether electroacupuncture (EA) is effective to alleviate somatic hyperalgesia via suppressing spinal LTP. Rats in the colitis group (induced by colonic infusion of 2,4,6-trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid, TNBS), instead of the control and vehicle groups, displayed evident focal inflammatory destruction of the distal colon accompanied not only with the sensitized visceromotor response (VMR) to noxious colorectal distension (CRD) but also with referral hindpaw hyperalgesia indicated by reduced mechanical and thermal withdrawal latencies. EA at Zusanli (ST36) and Shangjuxu (ST37) attenuated the severity of colonic inflammation, as well as the visceral hypersensitivity and referral hindpaw hyperalgesia in colitis rats. Intriguingly, the threshold of C-fiber-evoked field potentials (CFEFP) was significantly reduced and the spinal LTP was exaggerated in the colitis group, both of which were restored by EA treatment. Taken together, visceral hypersensitivity and referral hindpaw hyperalgesia coexist in TNBS-induced colitis rats, which might be attributed to the enhanced LTP of nociceptive synaptic transmission in the spinal dorsal horn. EA at ST36 and ST37 could relieve visceral hypersensitivity and, in particular, attenuate referral hindpaw hyperalgesia by suppressing the enhanced spinal LTP.