Electroacupuncture attenuates visceral hyperalgesia and inhibits the enhanced excitability of colon specific sensory neurons in a rat model of irritable bowel syndrome
Xu, G.-Y.; Winston, J.H.; Chen, J.D.Z.
Neurogastroenterology and Motility the Official Journal of the European Gastrointestinal Motility Society 21(12): 1302-E125
ISSN/ISBN: 1365-2982 PMID: 19558427 DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2982.2009.01354.x
The causes of irritable bowel syndrome remain elusive and there are few effective treatments for pain in this syndrome. Electroacupunture (EA) is used extensively for treatment of various painful conditions including chronic visceral hyperalgesia (CVH). However, mechanism of its analgesic effect remains unknown. This study was designed to investigate effect of EA on colon specific dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons in rats with CVH. CVH was induced by intracolonic injection of acetic acid (AA) in 10-day-old rats. Electromyography and patch clamp recordings were performed at age of 8-10 weeks. Colon DRG neurons were labelled by injection of DiI into the colon wall. EA was given at ST36 in both hindlimbs. As adults, neonatal AA-injected rats displayed an increased sensitivity to colorectal distension (CRD) and an enhanced excitability of colon DRG neurons. EA treatment for 40 min significantly attenuated the nociceptive responses to CRD in these rats; this attenuation was reversed by pretreatment with naloxone. EA treatment for 40 min per day for 5 days produced a prolonged analgesic effect and normalized the enhanced excitability of colon DRG neurons. Furthermore, in vitro application of [D-Ala(2), N-MePhe(4), Gly(5)-Ol] enkephalin (DAMGO) suppressed the enhanced excitability of colon neurons from rats with CVH. These findings suggest that EA produced-visceral analgesia, which might be mediated in a large part by endogenous opioids pathways, is associated with reversal of the enhanced excitability of colon DRG neurons in rats with CVH.