Electroacupuncture attenuates visceral hyperalgesia and inhibits the enhanced excitability of colon specific sensory neurons in a rat model of irritable bowel syndrome

G. Y. Xu, John Winston, J. D Z Chen

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42 Scopus citations

Abstract

The causes of irritable bowel syndrome remain elusive and there are few effective treatments for pain in this syndrome. Electroacupunture (EA) is used extensively for treatment of various painful conditions including chronic visceral hyperalgesia (CVH). However, mechanism of its analgesic effect remains unknown. This study was designed to investigate effect of EA on colon specific dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons in rats with CVH. CVH was induced by intracolonic injection of acetic acid (AA) in 10-day-old rats. Electromyography and patch clamp recordings were performed at age of 8-10 weeks. Colon DRG neurons were labelled by injection of DiI into the colon wall. EA was given at ST36 in both hindlimbs. As adults, neonatal AA-injected rats displayed an increased sensitivity to colorectal distension (CRD) and an enhanced excitability of colon DRG neurons. EA treatment for 40 min significantly attenuated the nociceptive responses to CRD in these rats; this attenuation was reversed by pretreatment with naloxone. EA treatment for 40 min per day for 5 days produced a prolonged analgesic effect and normalized the enhanced excitability of colon DRG neurons. Furthermore, in vitro application of [D-Ala2, N-MePhe4, Gly5-Ol] enkephalin (DAMGO) suppressed the enhanced excitability of colon neurons from rats with CVH. These findings suggest that EA produced-visceral analgesia, which might be mediated in a large part by endogenous opioids pathways, is associated with reversal of the enhanced excitability of colon DRG neurons in rats with CVH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNeurogastroenterology and Motility
Volume21
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2009

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Keywords

  • Chronic visceral hyperalgesia
  • Dorsal root ganglion
  • Electroacupuncture
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Naloxone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology

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