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Electroacupuncture treatment upregulates α7nAChR and inhibits JAK2/STAT3 in dorsal root ganglion of rat with spared nerve injury

Authors Wang Y, Xue M, Xia Y, Jiang Q, Huang Z, Huang C

Received 1 February 2019

Accepted for publication 27 May 2019

Published 2 July 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 1947—1955


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Katherine Hanlon

Ying Wang,1 Meng Xue,1 Yangyang Xia,1 Qian Jiang,1 Zhihua Huang,1,2 Cheng Huang1,2

1Department of Physiology, Gannan Medical University, Ganzhou 341000, People’s Republic of China; 2Pain Medicine Research Institute, Gannan Medical University, Ganzhou 341000, People’s Republic of China

Background: Neuropathic pain with complicated mechanism severely disrupts patient quality of life. The novel approaches and more effective management should be further investigated. It was reported that alpha-7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7nAChR) and janus kinase 2 (JAK2)/signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) signaling in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) contributed to the pathogenesis of neuropathic pain. Our previous study has shown that electroacupuncture (EA) alleviated neuropathic pain via activating α7nAChR in the spinal cord. However, whether the effect of 2 Hz EA on spared nerve injury (SNI)-induced neuropathic pain is mediated through modulation of α7nAChR and JAK2/STAT3 pathway in the DRG remains unclear.
Materials and methods: The SNI-induced neuropathic pain rat model was used in this study. After application of 2 Hz EA treatment to SNI rats on day 3, 7, 14 and 21 post-surgery, the expression levels of α7nAChR, JAK2/STAT3 and some cytokines in DRG were determined by qRT-PCR and Western blot analysis.
Results: We found that SNI induced significant down-regulation of α7nAChR mRNA and protein expression. SNI also obviously elicited the decrease in anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 protein expression. The enhancement of p-JAK2, p-STAT3, pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1β and IL-6 protein levels induced by SNI were also observed. However, 2 Hz EA treatment to SNI rats distinctly improved α7nAChR and IL-10 levels and reduced p-JAK2, p-STAT3, IL-1β and IL-6 expression in the DRG.
Conclusion: Our present study suggested that 2 Hz EA treatment indeed activated α7nAChR, suppressed JAK2/STAT3 signaling and re-balanced the relationship between pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines in DRG of SNI rat, which provided insight into our understanding of the mechanism for 2 Hz EA to attenuate neuropathic pain.

Keywords: neuropathic pain, electroacupuncture, α7nAChR, JAK2/STAT3, dorsal root ganglion

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