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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 982121, 11 pages
Research Article

Remote Dose-Dependent Effects of Dry Needling at Distant Myofascial Trigger Spots of Rabbit Skeletal Muscles on Reduction of Substance P Levels of Proximal Muscle and Spinal Cords

1Department of Physical Therapy, Graduate Institute of Rehabilitation Science, China Medical University, Taichung 40402, Taiwan
2Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Cheng Ching General Hospital, Taichung 40407, Taiwan
3School of Chinese Medicine, College of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung 40402, Taiwan
4Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung 40402, Taiwan
5Research Center for Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, China Medical University, Taichung 40402, Taiwan
6Department of Physical Therapy, Hungkuang University, Taichung 43302, Taiwan

Received 13 February 2014; Accepted 15 August 2014; Published 3 September 2014

Academic Editor: Katarzyna Starowicz

Copyright © 2014 Yueh-Ling Hsieh et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Dry needling at distant myofascial trigger points is an effective pain management in patients with myofascial pain. However, the biochemical effects of remote dry needling are not well understood. This study evaluates the remote effects of dry needling with different dosages on the expressions of substance P (SP) in the proximal muscle, spinal dorsal horns of rabbits. Methods. Male New Zealand rabbits (2.5–3.0 kg) received dry needling at myofascial trigger spots of a gastrocnemius (distant muscle) in one (1D) or five sessions (5D). Bilateral biceps femoris (proximal muscles) and superficial laminaes of L5-S2, T2-T5, and C2-C5 were sampled immediately and 5 days after dry needling to determine the levels of SP using immunohistochemistry and western blot. Results. Immediately after dry needling for 1D and 5D, the expressions of SP were significantly decreased in ipsilateral biceps femoris and bilateral spinal superficial laminaes (). Five days after dry needling, these reduced immunoactivities of SP were found only in animals receiving 5D dry needling (). Conclusions. This remote effect of dry needling involves the reduction of SP levels in proximal muscle and spinal superficial laminaes, which may be closely associated with the control of myofascial pain.