Acid-sensing ion channel 3 mediates peripheral anti-hyperalgesia effects of acupuncture in mice inflammatory pain

Wei-Hsin Chen, Ching-Liang Hsieh, Chun-Ping Huang, Tzu-Jou Lin, Jason Tc Tzen, Tin-Yun Ho, Yi-Wen Lin
Journal of Biomedical Science 2011, 18: 82

BACKGROUND: Peripheral tissue inflammation initiates hyperalgesia accompanied by tissue acidosis, nociceptor activation, and inflammation mediators. Recent studies have suggested a significantly increased expression of acid-sensing ion channel 3 (ASIC3) in both carrageenan- and complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA)-induced inflammation. This study tested the hypothesis that acupuncture is curative for mechanical hyperalgesia induced by peripheral inflammation.

METHODS: Here we used mechanical stimuli to assess behavioral responses in paw and muscle inflammation induced by carrageenan or CFA. We also used immunohistochemistry staining and western blot methodology to evaluate the expression of ASIC3 in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons.

RESULTS: In comparison with the control, the inflammation group showed significant mechanical hyperalgesia with both intraplantar carrageenan and CFA-induced inflammation. Interestingly, both carrageenan- and CFA-induced hyperalgesia were accompanied by ASIC3 up-regulation in DRG neurons. Furthermore, electroacupuncture (EA) at the ST36 rescued mechanical hyperalgesia through down-regulation of ASIC3 overexpression in both carrageenan- and CFA-induced inflammation.

CONCLUSIONS: In addition, electrical stimulation at the ST36 acupoint can relieve mechanical hyperalgesia by attenuating ASIC3 overexpression.

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