Mechanisms of Acupuncture Analgesia in Mice

Prof. Yi-Wen Lin


Pain is associated with several conditions, such as inflammation, that result from altered peripheral nerve properties. Electroacupuncture (EA) is a common Chinese clinical medical technology used for pain management. My presentation is concerning about the research on acupuncture analgesia. We want to investigate the mechanisms underlying antinociceptive effect of EA at Zusanli (ST36) acupoint. We have several methods to identify novel mechanisms in acupuncture therapy such as animal behaviors, immunohistochemistry staining, western blotting, and electrophysiology. We suggest that several pain (inflammatory, fibromyalgia, neuropathic) models-induced mechanical and thermal hyperalgesia was attenuated by EA. We also indicate that EA may also reduce nociceptive Nav sodium currents in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons. TRPV1 and associated signaling pathways was increased in inflammatory pain and further attenuated by EA. TRPV1 and associated signaling pathways can be prevented in TRPV1 knockout mice, suggesting that TRPV1 knockout mice are resistant to inflammatory pain. We further used chronic pain and depression comorbidity mice model. We indicated that EA significantly reduced chronic pain and depression comorbidity. Through our study, we have increased the understanding of the mechanism that EA might alter ASIC3, TRPV1 and associated signaling pathways to reduce hyperalgesia. We hope these findings could be applied in clinical study for better therapy.