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Study on the Mechanism of Electroacupuncture in the Treatment of Neuropathic Pain Based on Vesicular Glutamate Transporter 2/Toll Like Receptor 4 Signal Pathway

Author(s): W. S. Wang, Hai Yan Xi, Guan Fu, Xiang Zhen Fan and M. Guo*
Department of Rehabilitation, 1Department of Gynecology, Binzhou Medical University Hospital, Binzhou, Shandong 256603, China

Correspondence Address:
M. Guo, Department of Rehabilitation, Binzhou Medical University Hospital, Binzhou, Shandong 256603, China, E-mail:

To explore the analgesic effect of electro-acupuncture on neuropathic pain model rats and to clarify the mechanism of electro-acupuncture analgesia from the perspective of vesicular glutamate transporter 2/toll like receptor 4 signal pathway. A total of 30 specific pathogen free grade adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were selected. The rats were randomly divided into model group (chronic constriction injury), sham operation group, electro-acupuncture group, non-electro-acupuncture group (sham electro-acupuncture), Chicago sky blue 6B group and lipopolysaccharide group, with 5 rats in each group. The neuropathic pain model of chronic constriction injury of sciatic nerve was established. The “Huantiao” and “Yanglingquan” points were selected for electroacupuncture stimulation for 14 d. The mechanical foot contraction threshold, thermal pain, vesicular glutamate transporter 2/toll like receptor 4 signal pathway protein levels and inflammatory factor level of rats in each group were compared and analyzed. Compared with the sham operation group, the mechanical pain and thermal pain thresholds of the model group decreased significantly (p<0.01), the unilateral levels of vesicular glutamate transporter 2 and toll like receptor 4 and the release of interalukin-6 in the spinal cord increased significantly (p<0.01), while interalukin-10 decreased significantly (p<0.01); compared with the model group, electroacupuncture and intrathecal injection of Chicago sky blue 6B could significantly increase the pain threshold of neuropathic pain rats (p<0.01), reduce the release of interalukin-6 and the level of vesicular glutamate transporter 2 protein in the spinal cord and increase the level of interlukin-10; intrathecal injection of lipopolysaccharide decreased the pain threshold in rats (p<0.01). Electro-acupuncture can alleviate the pain sensitivity of neuropathic pain rats and its occurrence and development is closely related to the activation of vesicular glutamate transporter 2/toll like receptor 4 signal pathway in the spinal dorsal horn.

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