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Am J Chin Med. 2013;41(3):459-72. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X1350033X.

Electroacupuncture and lumbar transplant of GDNF-secreting fibroblasts synergistically attenuate hyperalgesia after sciatic nerve constriction.

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Department of Integrative Medicine and Neurobiology, State Key Laboratory of Medical Neurobiology, Institute of Brain Research, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, China.


Electroacupuncture (EA) has been shown to induce potent analgesic effects on neuropathic pain in both patients and rodents. Cell therapy to release antinociceptive agents near the pain processing centers of the spinal cord is a promising next step in the development of treatment modalities. This study investigated the effects of the combination of EA and cell therapy by glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) on neuropathic pain in rats. The hyperalgesic state was induced by chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve and fibroblasts genetically modified to secrete bioactive GDNF (FBs-GDNF) were used for cell therapy. Fifty-eight rats with neuropathic pain were randomly divided into five groups (CCI+PBS, n = 11; CCI+FBs-GDNF, n = 12; CCI+EA+PBS, n = 11; CCI+EA+FBs-pLNCX2, n = 12; CCI+EA+FBs-GDNF, n = 12). On the 7th day after CCI, the rats received intrathecal transplantation of FBs-GDNF or control fibroblasts (FBs-pLNCX2). In the meantime, EA was administered once every other day from the 7th day after CCI surgery for 21 days. The paw withdrawal latency (PWL) to radiant heat was measured every other day. The results showed that the ipsilateral PWL of the rats from all three EA treatment groups significantly increased starting on the 12th day compared with the PBS control group. Strikingly, the group which received EA treatment and FBs-GDNF transplantation (CCI+EA+FBs-GDNF) showed a significantly decreased thermal hyperalgesia after 2 weeks post CCI surgery compared with the groups which received EA treatment and FBs-pLNCX2 transplantation (CCI+EA+FBs-pLNCX2) or PBS (CCI+EA+PBS) as well as the FBs-GDNF transplantation group without EA treatment (CCI+FBs-GDNF). Our data suggest that EA and cell therapy can synergistically attenuate hyperalgesia in neuropathic pain rats.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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