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Papers of the Week

Papers: 2 Sep 2023 - 8 Sep 2023

Integrative/Complementary, Review

Human Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology, Neuromodulation


2023 Sep 07

Mol Pain


Mechanisms of acupuncture-electroacupuncture on inflammatory pain.


Zhang Q, Zhou M, Huo M, Si Y, Zhang Y, Fang Y, Zhang D


Acupuncture, as a traditional treatment, has been extensively used in China for thousands of years. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), acupuncture is recommended for the treatment of 77 diseases. And sixteen of these diseases are related to inflammatory pain. As a combination of traditional acupuncture and modern electrotherapy, electroacupuncture (EA) has satisfactory analgesic effects on various acute and chronic pain. Because of its good analgesic effects and no side effects, acupuncture has been widely accepted all over the world. Despite the increase in the number of studies, the mechanisms via which acupuncture exerts its analgesic effects have not been conclusively established. A literature review of related research is of great significance to elaborate on its mechanisms and to inform on further research directions. We elucidated on its mechanisms of action on inflammatory pain from two levels: peripheral and central. It includes the mechanisms of acupuncture in the periphery (immune cells and neurons, purinergic pathway, nociceptive ion channel, cannabinoid receptor and endogenous opioid peptide system) and central nervous system (TPRV1, glutamate and its receptors, glial cells, GABAergic interneurons and signaling molecules ). In this review, we collected relevant recent studies to systematically explain the mechanisms of acupuncture in treating inflammatory pain, with a view to providing direction for future applications of acupuncture in inflammatory pain and promoting clinical development.