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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:652735. doi: 10.1155/2013/652735. Epub 2013 Apr 21.

Increased nerve growth factor signaling in sensory neurons of early diabetic rats is corrected by electroacupuncture.

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1
Department of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences (FARMABIOMED) Nanomates, University of Salerno, Via Ponte don Melillo, 84084 Fisciano, Italy.

Abstract

Diabetic polyneuropathy (DPN), characterized by early hyperalgesia and increased nerve growth factor (NGF), evolves in late irreversible neuropathic symptoms with reduced NGF support to sensory neurons. Electroacupuncture (EA) modulates NGF in the peripheral nervous system, being effective for the treatment of DPN symptoms. We hypothesize that NGF plays an important pathogenic role in DPN development, while EA could be useful in the therapy of DPN by modulating NGF expression/activity. Diabetes was induced in rats by streptozotocin (STZ) injection. One week after STZ, EA was started and continued for three weeks. NGF system and hyperalgesia-related mediators were analyzed in the dorsal root ganglia (DRG) and in their spinal cord and skin innervation territories. Our results show that four weeks long diabetes increased NGF and NGF receptors and deregulated intracellular signaling mediators of DRG neurons hypersensitization; EA in diabetic rats decreased NGF and NGF receptors, normalized c-Jun N-terminal and p38 kinases activation, decreased transient receptor potential vanilloid-1 ion channel, and possibly activated the nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (Nf- κ B). In conclusion, NGF signaling deregulation might play an important role in the development of DPN. EA represents a supportive tool to control DPN development by modulating NGF signaling in diabetes-targeted neurons.

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