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Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research

Print version ISSN 0100-879XOn-line version ISSN 1414-431X


ALMEIDA, R.T. et al. Opioidergic orofacial antinociception induced by electroacupuncture at acupoint St36. Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 2008, vol.41, n.7, pp.621-626.  Epub June 30, 2008. ISSN 1414-431X.

The participation of opioids in the antinociceptive effect of electroacupuncture was evaluated in terms of nociception produced by thermal stimuli applied to the face of male Wistar rats, weighing 180-230 g. Electrical stimulation (bipolar and asymmetric square wave with 0.5 mA intensity for 20 min) of acupoint St36, located in the anterior tibial muscle 10 mm distal to the knee joint, induced antinociception in the present model, which was maintained for 150 min. Acupoint LI4, located in the junction of the first and second metacarpal bones, did not achieve antinociception at any frequency studied (5 Hz: 1.7 ± 0.1; 30 Hz: 1.8 ± 0.1; 100 Hz: 1.7 ± 0.1 vs 1.4 ± 0.2). The antinociception obtained by stimulation of acupoint St36 was only achieved when high frequency 100 Hz (3.0 ± 0.2 vs 1.0 ± 0.1) was used, and not with 5 or 30 Hz (1.2 ± 0.2 and 0.7 ± 0.1 vs 1.0 ± 0.1). The antinociceptive effect of acupuncture occurred by opioid pathway activation, since naloxone (1 and 2 mg/kg, subcutaneously) antagonized it (1.8 ± 0.2 and 1.7 ± 0.2 vs 3.0 ± 0.1).

Keywords : Acupuncture; St36 acupoint; Opioid; Orofacial antinociception.

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