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Anti-hyperalgesic effect of electroacupuncture in a model of post-incisional pain in rats

Author(s): Oliveira R. | Prado W.A.

Journal: Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research
ISSN 0100-879X

Volume: 33;
Issue: 8;
Start page: 957;
Date: 2000;
Original page

Keywords: electroacupuncture | post-incisional pain | hyperalgesia | naloxone

Electroacupuncture has been proposed to be a low cost and practical method that allows effective pain management with minimal collateral effects. In this study we have examined the effect of electroacupuncture against the hyperalgesia developed in a model of post-incisional pain in rats. A 1-cm longitudinal incision was made through the skin and fascia of the plantar region of the animal hind paw. Mechanical hyperalgesia in the incision was evaluated 135 min after the surgery with von Frey filaments. The tension threshold was reduced from 75 g (upper limit of the test) to 1.36 ± 0.36 g (mean ± SEM) in control rats. It is shown that a 15-min period of electroacupuncture applied 120 min after surgery to the Zusanli (ST36) and Sanyinjiao (SP6) points, but not to non-acupoints, produces a significant and long-lasting reduction of the mechanical hyperalgesia induced by the surgical incision of the plantar surface of the ipsilateral hind paw. The tension threshold was reduced from 75 to 27.6 ± 4.2 g in animals soon after the end of electroacupuncture. The mechanical threshold in this group was about 64% less than in control. Electroacupuncture was ineffective in rats treated 10 min earlier with naloxone (1 mg/kg, ip), thus confirming the involvement of opioid mechanisms in the antinociceptive effects of such procedure. The results indicate that post-incisional pain is a useful model for studying the anti-hyperalgesic properties of electroacupuncture in laboratory animals.
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