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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 436913, 11 pages
Review Article

Mechanisms of Electroacupuncture-Induced Analgesia on Neuropathic Pain in Animal Model

1Department of East-West Medicine, Graduate School, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 130-701, Republic of Korea
2Department of Physiology, College of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 130-701, Republic of Korea
3Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 130-701, Republic of Korea

Received 20 February 2013; Revised 23 June 2013; Accepted 11 July 2013

Academic Editor: Lixing Lao

Copyright © 2013 Woojin 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.


Neuropathic pain remains as one of the most difficult clinical pain syndromes to treat. Electroacupuncture (EA), involving endogenous opioids and neurotransmitters in the central nervous system (CNS), is reported to be clinically efficacious in various fields of pain. Although multiple experimental articles were conducted to assess the effect of EA-induced analgesia, no review has been published to assess the efficacy and clarify the mechanism of EA on neuropathic pain. To this aim, this study was firstly designed to evaluate the EA-induced analgesic effect on neuropathic pain and secondly to guide and help future efforts to advance the neuropathic pain treatment. For this purpose, articles referring to the analgesic effect of acupuncture on neuropathic pain and particularly the work performed in our own laboratory were analyzed. Based on the articles reviewed, the role of spinal opioidergic, adrenergic, serotonergic, cholinergic, and GABAergic receptors in the mechanism of EA-induced analgesia was studied. The results of this research demonstrate that and opioid receptors, α2-adrenoreceptors, 5- and 5-HT3 serotonergic receptors, M1 muscarinic receptors, and and GABAergic receptors are involved in the mechanisms of EA-induced analgesia on neuropathic pain.