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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 492471, 9 pages
Research Article

Effects of Electroacupuncture on N-Methyl-D-aspartate Receptor-Related Signaling Pathway in the Spinal Cord of Normal Rats

Division of Meridian and Structural Medicine, School of Korean Medicine, Pusan National University, Yangsan 626-870, Republic of Korea

Received 20 April 2011; Revised 29 September 2011; Accepted 26 October 2011

Academic Editor: Rui Chen

Copyright © 2012 Ha-Neui Kim 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.


This study examined the influence of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) on the modulation of related spinal signaling after electroacupuncture (EA) treatment in normal rats. Bilateral 2 Hz EA stimulations (1-2-3.0 mA) were delivered at acupoints corresponding to Zusanli (ST36) and Sanyinjiao (SP6) in men for 30 min. Thermal sensitization was strongly inhibited by EA, but this analgesia was reduced by preintrathecal injection of the NMDAR antagonist, MK801. Phosphorylation of the NMDAR NR2B subunit, cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB), and especially phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) were significantly induced by EA. However, these marked phosphorylations were not observed in MK801-pretreated rats. EA analgesia was reduced by preintrathecal injection with the calcium chelators Quin2 and TMB8, similar to the results evident using MK801. Phosphorylation of PI3K and CREB induced by EA was also inhibited by TMB8. Calcium influx by NMDAR activation may play an important role in EA analgesia of normal rats through the modulation of the phosphorylation of spinal PI3K and CREB.