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Papers of the Week

Papers: 3 Feb 2024 - 9 Feb 2024

2024 Feb 02

Purinergic Signal


The role of purinergic signaling in acupuncture-mediated relief of neuropathic and inflammatory pain.


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


Acupuncture is a traditional medicinal practice in China that has been increasingly recognized in other countries in recent decades. Notably, several reports have demonstrated that acupuncture can effectively aid in pain management. However, the analgesic mechanisms through which acupuncture provides such benefits remain poorly understood. Purinergic signaling, which is mediated by purine nucleotides and purinergic receptors, has been proposed to play a central role in acupuncture analgesia. On the one hand, acupuncture affects the transmission of nociception by increasing adenosine triphosphate dephosphorylation and thereby decreasing downstream P2X3, P2X4, and P2X7 receptors signaling activity, regulating the levels of inflammatory factors, neurotrophic factors, and synapsin I. On the other hand, acupuncture exerts analgesic effects by promoting the production of adenosine, enhancing the expression of downstream adenosine A1 and A2A receptors, and regulating downstream inflammatory factors or synaptic plasticity. Together, this systematic overview of the field provides a sound, evidence-based foundation for future research focused on the application of acupuncture as a means of relieving pain.