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Role of ASIC3, Nav1.7 and Nav1.8 in electroacupuncture-induced analgesia in a mouse model of fibromyalgia pain


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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