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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2016, Article ID 3840202, 10 pages
Research Article

Analgesic Neural Circuits Are Activated by Electroacupuncture at Two Sets of Acupoints

1College of Veterinary Medicine, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China
2College of Life Science and Technology, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China

Received 27 April 2016; Revised 3 June 2016; Accepted 5 June 2016

Academic Editor: Ke Ren

Copyright © 2016 Man-Li Hu 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.


To investigate analgesic neural circuits activated by electroacupuncture (EA) at different sets of acupoints in the brain, goats were stimulated by EA at set of Baihui-Santai acupoints or set of Housanli acupoints for 30 min. The pain threshold was measured using the potassium iontophoresis method. The levels of c-Fos were determined with Streptavidin-Biotin Complex immunohistochemistry. The results showed pain threshold induced by EA at set of Baihui-Santai acupoints was higher than that by EA at set of Housanli acupoints (). Compared with blank control, EA at two sets of acupoints increased c-Fos expression in the medial septal nucleus (MSN), the arcuate nucleus (ARC), the nucleus amygdala basalis (AB), the lateral habenula nucleus (HL), the ventrolateral periaqueductal grey (vlPAG), the locus coeruleus (LC), the nucleus raphe magnus (NRM), the pituitary gland, and spinal cord dorsal horn (SDH). Compared with EA at set of Housanli points, EA at set of Baihui-Santai points induced increased c-Fos expression in AB but decrease in MSN, the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus, HL, and SDH. It suggests that ARC-PAG-NRM/LC-SDH and the hypothalamus-pituitary may be the common activated neural pathways taking part in EA-induced analgesia at the two sets of acupoints.