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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 1846296, 10 pages
Research Article

Electroacupuncture Pretreatment at GB20 Exerts Antinociceptive Effects via Peripheral and Central Serotonin Mechanism in Conscious Migraine Rats

1Acupuncture and Moxibustion Department, Beijing Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Capital Medical University, No. 23 Meishuguanhou Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing 100010, China
2Neurology Department, Anhui General Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Anhui University of Chinese Medicine, No. 117 Meishan Street, Anhui 230031, China

Received 13 May 2016; Revised 25 July 2016; Accepted 3 October 2016

Academic Editor: Shu-Ming Wang

Copyright © 2016 Lu Liu 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.


Background. While electroacupuncture (EA) pretreatment in migraine has been found to attenuate pain and frequencies of attacks, the underlying mechanism of its antinociceptive effect remains poorly understood. Emerging evidence suggests that the serotonin system may be involved in migraine pathophysiology. Method. Forty male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly assigned to Control, Model, EA, and sham acupuncture (SA) groups. HomeCageScan was used to measure the effects on spontaneous nociceptive behaviors. Radioimmunoassay and high-performance liquid chromatography were used to evaluate the expression of 5-hydroxytryptamine (HT) in the plasma and three-key structure of the descending pain modulatory system. Results. Our study showed that EA pretreatment could produce a significant reduction in resting, freezing, and grooming behavior and a significant increase in exploration behavior. Furthermore, we found that the level of 5-HT in plasma was significantly increased, and it was significantly decreased in the descending pain modulatory system in Model group. The aforementioned results were significantly reversed in EA group; that is, the level of 5-HT was increased in the rostroventromedial medulla (RVM) and trigeminal nucleus caudalis (TNC) region and decreased in the plasma. Conclusion. EA pretreatment exerts antinociceptive effects in a rat model of recurrent migraine, possibly via modulation of the serotonin system.