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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 5687496, 11 pages
Review Article

Neurobiological Mechanism of Acupuncture for Relieving Visceral Pain of Gastrointestinal Origin

1Shanghai Research Institute of Acupuncture and Meridian, Shanghai 200030, China
2Shanghai TCM-Integrated Hospital, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 200082, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Huangan Wu and Huirong Liu

Received 10 October 2016; Accepted 8 December 2016; Published 24 January 2017

Academic Editor: Agata Mulak

Copyright © 2017 Fang Zhang 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.


It is currently accepted that the neural transduction pathways of gastrointestinal (GI) visceral pain include the peripheral and central pathways. Existing research on the neurological mechanism of electroacupuncture (EA) in the treatment of GI visceral pain has primarily been concerned with the regulation of relevant transduction pathways. The generation of pain involves a series of processes, including energy transduction of stimulatory signals in the sensory nerve endings (signal transduction), subsequent conduction in primary afferent nerve fibers of dorsal root ganglia, and transmission to spinal dorsal horn neurons, the ascending transmission of sensory signals in the central nervous system, and the processing of sensory signals in the cerebral cortex. Numerous peripheral neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, and cytokines participate in the analgesic process of EA in visceral pain. Although EA has excellent efficacy in the treatment of GI visceral pain, the pathogenesis of the disease and the analgesic mechanism of the treatment have not been elucidated. In recent years, research has examined the pathogenesis of GI visceral pain and its influencing factors and has explored the neural transduction pathways of this disease.