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Papers of the Week

Papers: 21 Oct 2023 - 27 Oct 2023

2023 Oct 23

Purinergic Signal


Electroacupuncture may alleviate diabetic neuropathic pain by inhibiting the microglia P2X4R and neuroinflammation.


Qu SY, Wang HZ, Hu QQ, Ma YQ, Kang YR, Ma LQ, Li X, Chen LH, Liu BY, Shao XM, Liu BY, Du JY, Liang Y, Zhao HL, Jiang YL, Fang JQ, He XF


Diabetic neuropathic pain (DNP) is a common and destructive complication of diabetes mellitus. The discovery of effective therapeutic methods for DNP is vitally imperative because of the lack of effective treatments. Although 2 Hz electroacupuncture (EA) was a successful approach for relieving DNP, the mechanism underlying the effect of EA on DNP is still poorly understood. Here, we established a rat model of DNP that was induced by streptozotocin (STZ) injection. P2X4R was upregulated in the spinal cord after STZ-injection. The upregulation of P2X4R was mainly expressed on activated microglia. Intrathecal injection of a P2X4R antagonist or microglia inhibitor attenuated STZ-induced nociceptive thermal hyperalgesia and reduced the overexpression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) in the spinal cord. We also assessed the effects of EA treatment on the pain hypersensitivities of DNP rats, and further investigated the possible mechanism underlying the analgesic effect of EA. EA relieved the hyperalgesia of DNP. In terms of mechanism, EA reduced the upregulation of P2X4R on activated microglia and decreased BDNF, IL-1β and TNF-α in the spinal cord. Mechanistic research of EA’s analgesic impact would be beneficial in ensuring its prospective therapeutic effect on DNP as well as in extending EA’s applicability.