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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2016, Article ID 8403064, 11 pages
Research Article

The Effect of Repeated Electroacupuncture Analgesia on Neurotrophic and Cytokine Factors in Neuropathic Pain Rats

1Institute of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing 100700, China
2Research Unit for Complementary and Integrative Laser Medicine, Research Unit of Biomedical Engineering in Anesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine and TCM Research Center Graz, Medical University of Graz, 8036 Graz, Austria

Received 1 June 2016; Revised 26 August 2016; Accepted 31 August 2016

Academic Editor: Yuewen Gong

Copyright © 2016 Junying Wang 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.


Chronic pain is a common disability influencing quality of life. Results of previous studies showed that acupuncture has a cumulative analgesic effect, but the relationship with spinal cytokines neurotrophic factors released by astrocytes remains unknown. The present study was designed to observe the effect of electroacupuncture (EA) treatment on spinal cytokines neurotrophic factors in chronic neuropathic pain rats. The chronic neuropathic pain was established by chronic constrictive injury (CCI). EA treatment was applied at Zusanli (ST36) and Yanglingquan (GB34) (both bilateral) once a day, for 30 min. IL-1β mRNA, TNF-α mRNA, and IL-1 mRNA were detected by quantitative real-time PCR, and the proteins of BDNF, NGF, and NT3/4 were detected by Western blot. The expression levels of cytokines such as IL-1β mRNA, TNF-α mRNA, IL-6 mRNA, and neurotrophic factors such as BDNF, NGF, and NT3/4 in the spinal cord were increased significantly after CCI. The astrocytes released more IL-1β and BDNF after CCI. Repeated EA treatment could suppress the elevated expression of IL-1β mRNA, TNFα mRNA, and BDNF, NGF, and NT3/4 but had no effect on IL-6 mRNA. It is suggested that cytokines and neurotrophic factors which may be closely associated with astrocytes participated in the process of EA relieving chronic pain.