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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015, Article ID 235491, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/235491
Research Article

Strong Manual Acupuncture Stimulation of “Huantiao” (GB 30) Reduces Pain-Induced Anxiety and p-ERK in the Anterior Cingulate Cortex in a Rat Model of Neuropathic Pain

Department of Neurobiology & Acupuncture Research, The Third Clinical College, Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, Hangzhou 310053, China

Received 9 August 2015; Revised 3 November 2015; Accepted 4 November 2015

Academic Editor: Ayikoé Guy Mensah-Nyagan

Copyright © 2015 Xiao-mei Shao 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.

Abstract

Persistent neuropathic pain is associated with anxiety. The phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (p-ERK) in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) plays an important role in pain-induced anxiety. Acupuncture is widely used for pain and anxiety. However, little is known about which acupuncture technique is optimal on pain-induced anxiety and the relationship between acupuncture effect and p-ERK. The rat model was induced by L5 spinal nerve ligation (SNL). Male adult SD rats were randomly divided into control, SNL, strong manual acupuncture (sMA), mild manual acupuncture (mMA), and electroacupuncture (EA) group. Bilateral “Huantiao” (GB 30) were stimulated by sMA, mMA, and EA, respectively. The pain withdrawal thresholds (PWTs) and anxiety behavior were measured, and p-ERK protein expression and immunoreactivity cells in ACC were detected. PWTs increased significantly in both sMA and EA groups. Meanwhile, anxiety-like behavior was improved significantly in the sMA and mMA groups. Furthermore, the overexpression of p-ERK induced by SNL was downregulated by strong and mild manual acupuncture. Therefore, strong manual acupuncture on bilateral “Huantiao” (GB 30) could be a proper therapy relieving both pain and pain-induced anxiety. The effect of different acupuncture techniques on pain-induced anxiety may arise from the regulation of p-ERK in ACC.