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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 792765, 6 pages
Research Article

Changes in Cytokine Expression after Electroacupuncture in Neuropathic Rats

1Department of Physiology and Brain Korea 21 Project for Medical Science, Yonsei University College of Medicine, P.O. Box 8044, Seoul 120-752, Republic of Korea
2Acupuncture and Meridian Science Research Center, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 130-701, Republic of Korea

Received 1 June 2011; Revised 12 October 2011; Accepted 26 October 2011

Academic Editor: Rui Chen

Copyright © 2012 Myeoung Hoon Cha 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.


The production of proinflammatory cytokines including interleukin-1 (IL-1), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) plays a key role in chronic pain such as neuropathic pain. We investigated changes in cytokine expression in injured peripheral nerves and dorsal root ganglia (DRG) following electroacupuncture (EA) treatment. Neuropathic pain was induced by peripheral nerve injury to the left hind limb of Sprague-Dawley rats under pentobarbital anesthesia. Two weeks later, the nerve-injured rats were treated by EA for 10 minutes. The expression levels of IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α in peripheral nerves and DRG of neuropathic rats were significantly increased in nerve-injured rats. However, after EA, the cytokine expression levels were noticeably decreased in peripheral nerves and DRG. These results suggest that EA stimulation can reduce the levels of proinflamtory cytokines elevated after nerve injury.