Though acupuncture has long been used to treat various kinds of pain, its mechanisms remain partly understood. Our recent study has shown that it may inhibit cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) in the spinal dorsal horn where COX-2 is upregulated after the development of neuropathic pain following spinal nerve ligation (SNL). The current study directly compared the effect of acupuncture with COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib in the spinal cord after SNL in rats. After L5 SNL, the rats were treated either with acupuncture applied to Zusanli (ST36) and Sanyinjiao (SP6) bilaterally with or without electrical stimulation (2 Hz, 0.5-1-2 mA) four times over 22 days, and/or celecoxib fed daily. Paw-withdrawal-threshold to mechanical stimulation and paw-withdrawal-latency to thermal test were tested for neuropathic pain at four intervals following the treatments in comparison with the pre-treatment and non-treatment controls. The results demonstrate that electroacupuncture (EA) had a long lasting and better analgesic effect than celecoxib in reducing neuropathic hypersensitivity. Though COX-2 expression in the spinal L4-L6 dorsal horn by immunostaining was significantly reduced by acupuncture just as well as by celecoxib, the superior analgesic mechanism of acupuncture appears well beyond COX-2 inhibition alone.
|Number of pages||7|
|Publication status||Published - 13 Oct 2010|
Scopus Subject Areas
- Neuropathic pain
- Spinal dorsal horn