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Role of ASIC3, Nav1.7 and Nav1.8 in electroacupuncture-induced analgesia in a mouse model of fibromyalgia pain
  1. Liang-Ta Yen1,
  2. Yu-Chan Hsu1,
  3. Jaung-Geng Lin2,
  4. Ching-Liang Hsieh3,4,
  5. Yi-Wen Lin1,5,6,7
  1. 1College of Chinese Medicine, Graduate Institute of Acupuncture Science, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
  2. 2College of Chinese Medicine, School of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung, USA
  3. 3Department of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan
  4. 4Graduate Institute of Acupuncture Science, Graduate Institute of Integrated Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
  5. 5College of Chinese Medicine, School of Post-Baccalaureate Chinese Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
  6. 6Master’s Program for Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, Taichung, Taiwan
  7. 7Research Center for Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
  1. Correspondence to Professor Yi-Wen Lin, School of Post-Baccalaureate Chinese Medicine, China Medical University, 91 Hsueh-Shih Road, Taichung 40402, Taiwan; yiwenlin{at}


Background The mechanisms underlying fibromyalgia (FM) pain are not understood. The US Food and Drug Administration has recommended three drugs for treating FM—namely, pregabalin, duloxetine and milnacipran; however, these medications are associated with severe side effects.

Objective To create a mouse model of FM pain using dual injections of acidic saline to cause mechanical hyperalgesia and test whether ASIC3, Nav1.7 and Nav1.8 are involved in this process and whether electroacupuncture (EA) can reverse these phenomena.

Methods The FM model was established by injecting acidic saline twice into 40 ICR mice. The mice were assigned to subgroups (n=8 each) treated with different EA frequencies (2, 15 and 50 Hz). ASIC3, Nav1.7 and Nav1.8 expression levels were measured by Western blotting and immunohistochemistry.

Results Significant mechanical hyperalgesia was induced on day 8 in FM mice, which was reversed by 2, 15 and 50 Hz EA. ASIC3, Nav1.7 and Nav1.8 protein levels increased significantly in both the dorsal root ganglion and in the spinal cord of FM model mice. These changes were further attenuated by 2, 15 and 50 Hz EA.

Conclusion Reduced nociceptive ASIC3, Nav1.7 and Nav1.8 proteins are involved in the preventive effects of EA against FM, and this series of molecules may represent targets for FM treatment.

  • electroacupuncture
  • fibromyalgia pain
  • acid-sensing ion channel
  • sodium channel
  • dorsal root ganglion
  • spinal cord

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  • Contributors L-TY, Y-CH and Y-WL conceived and designed the study. L-TY and Y-CH carried out the experiments, collected, and analysed the data. J-GL, C-LH and Y-WL wrote the manuscript. Y-WL obtained the research grants for the study. All the authors reviewed the manuscript, agreed to submission and approved the final version accepted for publication.

  • Funding This work was supported by CMU under the Aim for Top University Plan of the Ministry of Education, Taiwan, MOST 104-2320-B-039-010, CMU105-S-09.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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