Electroacupuncture has traditionally been used to treat pain, but its effect on pain following brachial plexus injury is still unknown. In this study, rat models of an avulsion injury to the left brachial plexus root (associated with upper-limb chronic neuropathic pain) were given electroacupuncture stimulation at bilateral Quchi (LI11), Hegu (LI04), Zusanli (ST36) and Yanglingquan (GB34). After electroacupuncture therapy, chronic neuropathic pain in the rats' upper limbs was significantly attenuated. Immunofluorescence staining showed that the expression of β-endorphins in the arcuate nucleus was significantly increased after therapy. Thus, experimental findings indicate that electroacupuncture can attenuate neuropathic pain after brachial plexus injury through upregulating β-endorphin expression.
Funding:This work is supported by the Project of Ministry of Health (Comprehensive Research on Brachial Plexus Injury), No. 13D22270800 from the National Natural Science Foundation of China, and 2011 Shanghai Medical College Young Scientist Fund of Fudan University, No. 11L-24.