Objectives Previous research has suggested that different manual acupuncture (MA) manipulations may have different physiological effects. Recent studies have demonstrated that neural electrical signals are generated or changed when acupuncture is administered. In order to explore the effects of different MA manipulations on the neural system, an experiment was designed to record the discharges of wide dynamic range (WDR) neurons in the spinal dorsal horn evoked by MA at different frequencies (0.5, 1, 2 and 3 Hz) at ST36.
Methods Microelectrode extracellular recordings were used to record the discharges of WDR neurons evoked by different MA manipulations. Approximate firing rate and coefficient of variation of interspike interval (ISI) were used to extract the characteristic parameters of the neural electrical signals after spike sorting, and the neural coding of the evoked discharges by different MA manipulations was obtained.
Results Our results indicated that the neuronal firing rate and time sequences of ISI showed distinct clustering properties for different MA manipulations, which could distinguish them effectively.
Conclusions The combination of firing rate and ISI codes carries information about the acupuncture stimulus frequency. Different MA manipulations appear to change the neural coding of electrical signals in the spinal dorsal horn through WDR neurons.
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