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Peripheral muscarinic receptors mediate the anti-inflammatory effects of auricular acupuncture

Author(s): Chung Wai | Zhang Hong | Zhang Shi

Journal: Chinese Medicine
ISSN 1749-8546

Volume: 6;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 3;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Abstract Background The cholinergic and opioid systems play important roles in modulating inflammation. This study tests whether auricular acupuncture (AA) produces anti-inflammatory effects via opioid and peripheral cholinergic receptors in a rat model. Methods Rats were anesthetized with chloral hydrate and inflammation was induced by intraplantar injection of carrageenan. Electroacupuncture was performed at auricular points bilaterally. The severity of inflammation was assessed using changes in paw volume and thermal and mechanical pain thresholds of the rats during recovery from anesthesia. Results Electroacupuncture at selected auricular acupoints significantly reduced paw edema and mechanical hyperalgesia, with no significant effect on thermal hyperalgesia. The anti-edematous and analgesic effects of AA were abolished by blockade of peripheral cholinergic muscarinic receptors with methyl atropine. Blockade of local muscarinic receptors at the inflamed site with a small dose of atropine also antagonized the anti-edematous effect of AA. By contrast, systemic opioid receptor blockade with naloxone did not antagonize the anti-inflammatory effects of AA. Conclusion This study discovers a role of peripheral muscarinic receptors in mediating the anti-inflammatory effects of AA. The cholinergic muscarinic mechanism appears to be more important than the opioid mechanism in the anti-inflammatory action of AA.

Tango Jona
Tangokurs Rapperswil-Jona

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