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Papers of the Week

Papers: 10 Feb 2024 - 16 Feb 2024

2024 Feb 10

Neurochem Res


Electroacupuncture Alleviates Pain by Suppressing P2Y12R-Dependent Microglial Activation in Monoarthritic Rats.


Wang J, Song W, Zhang Y, Wang J, Wang Y, Song J, Zhou Y


Electroacupuncture (EA) effectively improves arthritis-induced hyperalgesia and allodynia by repressing spinal microglial activation, which plays a crucial role in pain hypersensitivity following tissue inflammation. However, the mechanism by which EA suppresses spinal microglial activation in monoarthritis (MA) remains unclear. In the present study, a rat model of MA was established through unilateral ankle intra-articular injection of complete Freund’s adjuvant (CFA). The relationship among P2Y12 receptor (P2Y12R) expression, spinal microglial activation, and EA analgesia was investigated using quantitative real-time PCR (qRT‒PCR), western blotting, immunofluorescence (IF), and behavioral testing. The results found that EA treatment at the ipsilateral “Huantiao” (GB30) and “Yanglingquan” (GB34) acupoints markedly attenuated pain and spinal microglia M1 polarization in MA rats. In particular, P2Y12R expression was significantly increased at the mRNA and protein levels in the spinal dorsal horn in MA rats, whereas EA treatment effectively repressed the MA-induced upregulation of P2Y12R. IF analysis further revealed that most P2Y12R was expressed in microglia in the spinal dorsal horn. Pharmacological inhibition of P2Y12R by its antagonist (AR-C69931MX) decreased MA-induced spinal microglial activation and subsequent proinflammatory cytokine production. Consequently, AR-C69931MX significantly intensified the anti-pain hypersensitive function of EA in MA rats. Taken together, these results demonstrate that EA alleviates MA-induced pain by suppressing P2Y12R-dependent microglial activation.