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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 768634, 8 pages
Research Article

Changes in Responses of Neurons in Spinal and Medullary Subnucleus Reticularis Dorsalis to Acupoint Stimulation in Rats with Visceral Hyperalgesia

1Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Wuhan Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine, 215 Zhongshan Road, Wuhan 430022, China
2Institute of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing 100700, China

Received 6 May 2014; Accepted 23 September 2014; Published 26 November 2014

Academic Editor: Lijun Bai

Copyright © 2014 Ling-Ling Yu 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 purpose of this study was to explore the mechanism of acupoints sensitization phenomenon at the spinal and medulla levels. Experiments were performed on adult male Sprague-Dawley rats and visceral noxious stimuli was generated by colorectal distension (CRD). The activities of wide dynamic range (WDR) and subnucleus reticularis dorsalis (SRD) neurons were recorded. The changes of the reactions of WDR and SRD neurons to electroacupuncture (EA) on acupoints of “Zusanli-Shangjuxu” before and after CRD stimulation were observed. The results showed that visceral nociception could facilitate the response of neurons to acupoints stimulation. In spinal dorsal horn, EA-induced activation of WDR neurons further increased to 106.84 ± 17.33% (1.5 mA) () and 42.27 ± 13.10% (6 mA) () compared to the neuronal responses before CRD. In medulla oblongata, EA-induced activation of SRD neurons further increased to 63.28 ± 15.96% (1.5 mA) () and 25.02 ± 7.47% (6 mA) () compared to that before CRD. Taken together, these data suggest that the viscerosomatic convergence-facilitation effect of WDR and SRD neurons may underlie the mechanism of acupoints sensitization. But the sensitizing effect of visceral nociception on WDR neurons is stronger than that on SRD neurons.