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c-Fos expression induced by electroacupuncture at the Zusanli point in rats submitted to repeated immobilization

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Author(s): Medeiros M.A. | Canteras N.S. | Suchecki D. | Mello L.E.A.M.

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

Volume: 36;
Issue: 12;
Start page: 1673;
Date: 2003;
Original page

Keywords: Acupuncture | Zusanli point | Immediate early genes | c-Fos | Restraint | Habituation

ABSTRACT
In laboratory animals, acupuncture needs to be performed on either anesthetized or, if unanesthetized, restrained subjects. Both procedures up-regulate c-Fos expression in several areas of the central nervous system, representing therefore a major pitfall for the assessment of c-Fos expression induced by electroacupuncture. Thus, in order to reduce the effect of acute restraint we used a protocol of repeated restraint for the assessment of the brain areas activated by electroacupuncture in adult male Wistar rats weighing 180-230 g. Repeated immobilization protocols (6 days, 1 h/day and 13 days, 2 h/day) were used to reduce the effect of acute immobilization stress on the c-Fos expression induced by electroacupuncture at the Zusanli point (EA36S). Animals submitted to immobilization alone or to electroacupuncture (100 Hz, 2-4 V, faradic wave) in a non-point region were compared to animals submitted to electroacupuncture at EA36S (4 animals/subgroup). c-Fos expression was measured in 41 brain areas by simple counting of cells and the results are reported as number of c-Fos-immunoreactive cells/10,000 µm². The protocols of repeated immobilization significantly reduced the immobilization-induced c-Fos expression in most of the brain areas analyzed (P < 0.05). Animals of the EA36S groups had significantly higher levels of c-Fos expression in the dorsal raphe nucleus, locus coeruleus, posterior hypothalamus and central medial nucleus of the thalamus. Furthermore, the repeated immobilization protocols intensified the differences between the effects of 36S and non-point stimulation in the dorsal raphe nucleus (P < 0.05). These data suggest that high levels of stress can interact with and mask the evaluation of specific effects of acupuncture in unanesthetized animals.

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Tangokurs Rapperswil-Jona

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