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Papers of the Week

Papers: 15 Aug 2020 - 21 Aug 2020

Animal Studies

2020 Aug 08


Somatotopic Organization and Intensity Dependence in Driving Distinct NPY-Expressing Sympathetic Pathways by Electroacupuncture.



The neuroanatomical basis behind acupuncture practice is still poorly understood. Here, we used intersectional genetic strategy to ablate NPY noradrenergic neurons and/or adrenal chromaffin cells. Using endotoxin-induced systemic inflammation as a model, we found that electroacupuncture stimulation (ES) drives sympathetic pathways in somatotopy- and intensity-dependent manners. Low-intensity ES at hindlimb regions drives the vagal-adrenal axis, producing anti-inflammatory effects that depend on NPY adrenal chromaffin cells. High-intensity ES at the abdomen activates NPY splenic noradrenergic neurons via the spinal-sympathetic axis; these neurons engage incoherent feedforward regulatory loops via activation of distinct adrenergic receptors (ARs), and their ES-evoked activation produces either anti- or pro-inflammatory effects due to disease-state-dependent changes in AR profiles. The revelation of somatotopic organization and intensity dependency in driving distinct autonomic pathways could form a road map for optimizing stimulation parameters to improve both efficacy and safety in using acupuncture as a therapeutic modality.