Acupuncture is appealing pain control technique in that it can evoke endogenous analgesic mechanisms by minimally invasive means. The mechanisms of acupuncture are not well understood, however, and one of the major problems impeding this understanding is a lack of proper experimental models. The present proposal describes a model of electroacupuncture (EA)- induced analgesia in ankle sprain pain. This model gives a repeatable and quantifiable index of persistent pain in the ankle joint and the preliminary data show that acupuncture at a remote site produces long-lasting analgesia in this model. This is shown by the finding the EA results in about 40% recovery of weight bearing by the hind limb with ankle sprain. This reproducibility and susceptibility to acupuncture will allow one to pursue the neural mechanisms of this phenomenon in considerably greater detail than has previously been possible.
Four specific aims are proposed.
Aim 1 is to investigate the origin and the fiber size group of afferent nerve fibers mediating EA analgesia using behavioral testing and electrophysiological techniques.
Aim 2 is to test if EA induces NE release in the spinal cord by a descending system using pharmacological and neurochemical methods.
Aim 3 is to test if ankle sprain induces central sensitization in the spinal cord as well as sensitization of peripheral nociceptors and EA reduces the level of central sensitization.
Aim 4 is to test if the key CNS structures activated by EA is the anterior pretectal nucleus (APtN), which projects to brainstem noradrenergic cell groups to release NE in the spinal cord. Successful completion of this proposal will unveil important mechanisms underlying acupuncture analgesia in ankle sprain pain. This knowledge can then be applied to acupuncture analgesia in other forms of painful conditions, thereby gaining the insight to establish a maximally effective means of utilizing this endogenous analgesic system. An understanding of these mechanisms is necessary if acupuncture is to move into the mainstream of medical therapy.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
Research Project (R01)
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Integrative, Functional and Cognitive Neuroscience 8 (IFCN)
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Hopp, Craig
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University of Texas Medical Br Galveston
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Kim, Jae Hyo; Kim, Hee Young; Chung, Kyungsoon et al. (2011) Electroacupuncture reduces the evoked responses of the spinal dorsal horn neurons in ankle-sprained rats. J Neurophysiol 105:2050-7
Kim, Jae Hyo; Kim, Hee Young; Chung, Kyungsoon et al. (2011) Responses of spinal dorsal horn neurons to foot movements in rats with a sprained ankle. J Neurophysiol 105:2043-9
Kim, Hee Young; Koo, Sung Tae; Kim, Jae Hyo et al. (2010) Electroacupuncture analgesia in rat ankle sprain pain model: neural mechanisms. Neurol Res 32 Suppl 1:10-7
Kim, Hee Young; Wang, Jigong; Lee, Inhyung et al. (2009) Electroacupuncture suppresses capsaicin-induced secondary hyperalgesia through an endogenous spinal opioid mechanism. Pain 145:332-40
Schwartz, Erica S; Lee, Inhyung; Chung, Kyungsoon et al. (2008) Oxidative stress in the spinal cord is an important contributor in capsaicin-induced mechanical secondary hyperalgesia in mice. Pain 138:514-24
Kim, Hee Young; Chung, Jin Mo; Chung, Kyungsoon (2008) Increased production of mitochondrial superoxide in the spinal cord induces pain behaviors in mice: the effect of mitochondrial electron transport complex inhibitors. Neurosci Lett 447:87-91
Kim, Hee Young; Wang, Jigong; Chung, Kyungsoon et al. (2008) A surgical ankle sprain pain model in the rat: effects of morphine and indomethacin. Neurosci Lett 442:161-4
Koo, Sung Tae; Lim, Kyu Sang; Chung, Kyungsoon et al. (2008) Electroacupuncture-induced analgesia in a rat model of ankle sprain pain is mediated by spinal alpha-adrenoceptors. Pain 135:11-9
Lee, Inhyung; Kim, Hee Kee; Kim, Jae Hyo et al. (2007) The role of reactive oxygen species in capsaicin-induced mechanical hyperalgesia and in the activities of dorsal horn neurons. Pain 133:9-17
Kim, Hee Kee; Schattschneider, Jorn; Lee, Inhyung et al. (2007) Prolonged maintenance of capsaicin-induced hyperalgesia by brief daily vibration stimuli. Pain 129:93-101

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